It’s easy to ignore sights that one passes by on a regular basis. Just going from Ponte a Serraglio, and using the Brennero road taking one to Chifenti and beyond, there are four such sights that are worth at least a second look.
The first of these turns out to be the back-end of a chapel, although it took me some time to realise that it was a religious building until I spotted a Della robbianesque plaque to the Madonna sheltered under the protective gable.
Tramping through high grass to its entrance I found the chapel a most attractive building in reasonable shape.
In less good shape, however, were the public gardens and children’s playground surrounding it. Although I love it when London’s parks are allowed to have “wild” bits with plenty of natural flora and fauna I realised that this was not the intent of these gardens! Let us hope that the comune will find the funds to employ a grass-cutter or, at the very least, that the local residents will find volunteers to do the job the council should do, even just for the safety of the children playing in this area (snakes love tall grass).
The second sight is Ponte a Serraglio’s cemetery, the other of Bagni di Lucca’s still-in-use cemeteries. There are a number of attractive tombs, including one with stained glass and another with a good modern sculpture and yet another one in a terrible state where the angel seems to be also grieving at its condition.
There are never any very old tombs in Italian cemeteries because of the process of de-entombment after a varying number of years into wall ossuaries when the tomb’s lease runs out. So it’s rather difficult to write an Italian version of Gray’s Elegy. (Although the great neo-classical poet, Ugo Foscolo, who ended his tormented life in 1827 in London and was buried in St Nicholas Churchyard Chiswick, until his remains were returned with great pomp in 1871 to lie with those of Michelangelo and Galileo in Florence’s Pantheon of Santa Croce church, did have a try with his elegiac “Dei Sepolcri” – appropriately about Santa Croce.)
Outside the cemetery walls, but still presumably in in its grounds, are two other memorials – one to a soldier with freshly laid tulips (I wonder why his memorial was not placed within the walls) and the other commemorating the victims of something which happened in 1944. There is unfortunately nothing to say either what the event was or the names of those who died as a result of it. However, judging by other memorials dating to 1944 it may have most probably been some Nazi-Fascist atrocity.
The third sight is caught crossing into the comune of Borgo a Mozzano and it’s a delightful little shrine placed in front of a very abandoned and somewhat dilapidated farmhouse which could have been turned into a picturesque dwelling. The shrine is well-cared for by persons unknown and there is even a prayer to Saint Rita tacked on to the left gate.
The fourth sight does not look very promising from the outside
Inside it’s a different matter as the building is what would be the equivalent of an English “proprietary” chapel and is well-cared for by a family who own it and live in Artali, which is a part of Longoio. The chapel’s altar is impressive with barley-twist columns, sweet angels playing under a stellar roof and a fine eighteenth century painting of the Virgin with saints.
There are two interesting inscriptions which date the chapel.
The neo-gothic windows must have been cut at a later date, however.
Often it’s quite a good idea to take a few minutes off one’s journey to Penny Market or the station to stop and look around – it’s quite interesting what one can find!