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La Villa

La Villa is 150 meters above sea level.

The History
Probably Villa or La Villa was appointed the suburban village as in those days Corsena was a village that depended on the Pieve di Controne with another 25 villages this is found in a parchment of the year 983.At the end of the 13thcentury the thermal waters at the Colle started to be used for teraphy and was named Balneus ad Villa (Bagno alla Villa),and the chief town was known a Villa.In the 800’s the populated areas of the Villa where Bagni alla Villa,Corsena, Piano di Corsena,but today the territory is extended to,Castiglioni,Solcini,Campiglia,Palmaia,Dominello,Terrarosa and Novale.It’s construction started in the first half of the 19thcentury with the Baciocchi and then the Borboni.The inhabitants of Bagno alla Villa were already known in the 16thcentury as Michel de Montaigne stayed there in 1581,to cure a liver problem.Bagno alla Villa was the most elegant village in the valley, remaining today as in the 15thcentury when built by Domenico Bertini with it’s palaces and villas belonging to the rich noble families of Lucca.These palaces and villas lodged noblemen,statesmen,poets and kings which left their mark.The ducal stables where built in 1811 by Prince Baiocchi,they were two storey high underneath was for the horses and abovethe stable-boys had their lodgings. The Dukes Villa was built in 1811-1812 and had another villa attached this was the residence of Elisa Baciocchi, Marialuisa di Borbone Parma and her son Carlo Ludovico. Prince Metternich (Foreign Affairs Minister)of the Emperor of Austria Federico 2° also stayed here from the 29th of July to the 29th of August and writes in his memoirs"I live in the comfortable home of Elisa (Baciocchi) which she made for herself.It has a bathroom inside with current flowing water… the air is great not too cold or too hot.The bathrooms are large and luxurious.Everything is enchanted by the surroundings,i’ve stayed in this interesting small village and under alot of aspects i will bring it in my heart with sweet memories.I leave this place with real regret” A Villa Mansi was home to Giuseppina Beaurharnais,first wife of Napoleone; Letizia Ramolino e Paolina Bonaparte Borghese.In recent years the villa was bought by Ian Greenlees an influent englishman director of The British Institute of Florence.In the villa belonging to Bujamonti in 1581 lived Michel di Montaigne.In 1669 in Villa Buonvisi lived the Grandduchess Vittoria Della Rovere,wife of the Grandduke Ferdinando II de Medici with their son Franceso Maria they had 260 servants who lived in the surrounding houses.In 1772 Giacomo III (who was next in line to the throne of england)and his wife Celementina Sobieska stayed here and in the summer of1822 when the poet George Gordon Byron lived here he left behind him a lock of his curls and a gun case with his initials on it.In1818 Percy Bysshe Shelley with his wife Mary Goldwin and children William and Clara stayed in the of Chiappa.Mary wrote to a friend:“Our house is small,but comforable and clean, it has been whitewashed and the furniture is new.We have a small garden with a dome covered with laurel so thick that the sun can’t get through.” Villa Ada is also a part of Bagno alla Villa with it’s beautiful park were today is the towns outdoor swimming pools which have been recently renovated.In the building that the Red Cross occupies theres a memorial tablet to Sir Frances Vane supported by Remo Molinari in 1910 founded the first group of Boy Scouts 30 in all.Another building worth mentioning is the antique chemist ‘Betti’ founded in 1709 which today is still in Empire Style.Elisabeth and Robert Browning stayed here in 1857. The Academic Theatre was built in 1790 and even today has in important ruole in the community.In 1805 Elisa Baciocchi played in the Fedra di Racine and the year after it was used to celebrate the birth of Napoleones daughter Elisa.In 1823 the theatre was rented by Prince Nicolai Demidoff he organized plays and dances inviting all the population.Bagni di Lucca was often visited by famous people like Adolfo Betti(violinist),Adriano Bastoni and Ferruccio Giorno(garibaldian).Even a young Giacomo Puccini played here,here he composed the second act of ‘Fanciulla del West’ and was inspired to write ‘Turandot’.The Giorgetti home(now the Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca)was the birthplace of Marion Crawford (1854-1909) an american author.The attuale town hall was the family home of Della Lena who left it in 1609 to the Hospital of the Mercy of Lucca who in 1685 gave it back to the commune.Ther is also an Anglican Church wanted by the english as they needed a place of worship,opened in 1840 when Duke Carlo Lodovico and the Holy See granted them premission.Was built by the architect Giuseppe Pardini and was used until 1936. Inside there are lots of memorial tablets to the people from the english community who financed it and to the founder Colonel Henry Stisted.To help finance the building of the church and the cimetry Elisabeth Stisted in 1845 published a book containing letters written by herself to her friends while she was in Italy. Some of her letters “Letters from the bye-ways of Italy” were written and talkrd about Bagni di Lucca.Today the church is the towns Public Library dedicated to ‘Adolfo Betti’. Husband and wife Stisted picked Bagni di Lucca as an ideal place to live and around their home they had a gathering of all the english and high society foreigners that came to Bagni.The Stisted library was opened to everyone and soon a large population of english settled here.The Protestant Graveyard is on the otherside of the Lima and was opened in 1842.There are buried many famous people like writter Louise de la Ramèe called Ouida, husband and wife Stisted, Evangelina Whipple(author of ‘A famous corner of Tuscany’ she describes Bagni di Lucca and was published in 1827),Rose Cleveland sister of the 22nd president of the USA and many more. The parish church is dedicated to San Pietro remembered in two parchments of 1073 and 1165,it was of the parish of the Pieve di Controne but later became independent.The bell tower was built at the end if the 17thcentury, that went to place the antique bell tower.Inside it has three aisles divided by pillars,a baptism fountain and a tabernacle of the 16thcentury in the left aisle,the oratory to the Virgin Mary is very nice.

Famous People
Arturo Moni(1867-1936) philosopher
Adolfo Betti(1875-1950) violinist
Mario Betti (1875-1943) chemist

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