We bought a house.
I am not sure why we bought a house.
We were in Italy and one or other of us said “It’s nice here, shall we buy a house?”, and the other agreed. So we did.
A couple of years later, we not only have a house, but have spent (fairly) vast sums restoring it to it’s former glory and now it’s all ready to move into. It is an old farm house, so “glory” is probably not the right word. Certainly old though. “1649” says the plaque on the wall. That’s old. Mind you, when the cement render was taken off the stone walls, we found another, similar plaque. So maybe there is, or was, a plaque maker locally happily turning out date plaques to order.
We call the house “Casa Lupini”. (House of the Lupins) Nobody else does, so it’s no good arriving in the village and saying “Dove e Casa Lupini?” It is just that on some maps the area where the house is is written as “Lupini”. The parish is, however, called “Rupini”, which means, we are told, steep slopes, or something like that. Not in any dictionary that we have found yet. Our parish church is way over the hill, in the main town of Bagni di Lucca, Ville.
We are on a hill overlooking Ponte A Serraglio, one of a couple of dozen or so villages that make up Bagni di Lucca, an old spa town north of the city of Lucca in north-west Tuscany. The house is in Bagni Caldi, a part of the commune that had several hot spas renowned for a variety of healing properties. There are now just two working ‘Spas’ within walking distance, both at the luxury end of the market, but there are another two nearby currently being restored. I have looked everywhere (not really everywhere – there is a lot of fairly inaccessible woodland) but have yet to find a spring of our own, but there is an interesting-looking water tank on the lane up to the house. Dry, though, and filled with builders’ rubbish.
In our Architect’s office there is an old print of Ponte A Serraglio in 1792. It shows a few buildings around the bridge, a couple of spas and, quite prominently up on the hill above, our house plus two smaller ones. One of the smaller ones is on our land, now overgrown but still recognisably two rooms over two animal sheds. Given more resources than we currently have it could be made habitable. The other is more mysterious. Walking to what I thought was the end of our land through unkempt woodland, you come to a platform that overlooks (or would if there were no trees) the road along the river Lima as it leads into Ville (The main part of Bagni di Lucca). The ‘platform’ has supporting walls that may be the remains of the second building. Then again, it may not. It turns out that this is not the end of our land after all, we extend quite a way past it. My feeling is that you might be able to follow the path, such as it is, and arrive at the little chapel, or refugio, above Colle, the little village over the hill above our house.