Corsagna is that relatively rare village in our part of the world: an almost entirely self-sufficient one – at least socially. It has own sports centre, its own (well-regarded) philharmonic band, shops, bars and even a little industry. It even once had its own school. Although Corsagna belongs to Borgo a Mozzano comune I feel it’s big enough to make up its own comune.
I like to go through Corsagna as an alternative route from Bagni di Lucca to Borgo a Mozzano, creating a pleasant change and taking in some great views. On one particular occasion this was the only way of getting back home. That was a few years back when the Halloween festivities at Borgo had attracted so many people that all the main roads were blocked for hours.
Corsagna is spread out extensively on a sort of plateau four hundred metres above sea level. Its domestic architecture can be quite dignified and there are many Corti (or houses spread around inner courtyards). It also has a surprising number of rioni (or quarters) whose names are Pozzo, Verace, Fucina, Fabbriche, Cantone, Lama and Postabbio.
The highest part of the town is dominated by the tower of what once must have been part of the castle but now forms the campanile of a beautiful parish church with nave and two aisles dedicated to Saint Michael.
The views from the church are very panoramic indeed but what for me, during my visit two days ago, was most touching in this hundredth anniversary of the start of WWI was the unusual, almost English-like way, the Corsagnani had honoured their war dead, all twenty-four of them, each of the fallen in his own space that shall for ever be Italy, in a downward-sloping processional avenue, on one side of the village’s actual cemetery, instead of just the usual war memorial. What was even more poignant was that (apart from the short lives of so many of these young mountain soldier) some of the graves did not even have the customary fallen’s picture because none had ever been taken. Instead, the tricolour was displayed on the plaque where the photo should have been.
For me, these crosses were just as moving in the solitude of Corsagna’s descending twilight as that moated sea of poppies I’d only recently experienced around the Tower of London. For Corsagna too had contributed its own sacrifice to that slaughter, like any other area in the world which had been drawn into the terrible pity of war.