A well-known personality – indeed an institution – at Bagni di Lucca Villa has suddenly passed away. Renato Petri, the tobacconist, bookseller, hunting, fishing and trekking equipment dealer and owner of the Roma Hotel, which numbered among its past guests Elisa Baiocchi, Napoleon’s sister, and Giacomo Puccini, the great operatic composer, was so well-known among so many of us that it is difficult to realise that we will never see him again, at least on the face of this earth.
Renato’s family had run both the shop and the hotel since 1908.
Renato, or “Renatone” as he was nicknamed, had a kind word for everybody and I remember many memorable chats with him between his serving the customers. For him I was always the “professore”.
Renato always seemed to be there and on one rare occasion when he went away on holiday he complained to me about the advanced age of his fellow holidaymakers…
I, like, all residents of (and visitors to) Bagni di Lucca will sorely miss him! I suppose, however, that the one disadvantage about living in a community where most people know each other and where I have now been a resident for ten years is that if one of us goes it is all the more noticed and felt.
Goodbye Renato you were always kind and good to me – something that is becoming increasingly rare in today’s frenetic society.
Renato’s funeral will be this Tuesday at Corsena church, Bagni di Lucca..
This photograph shows Renato in 2006 with one of his oldest customers, Sam Stych, who is still with us at the ageof 98. Then, Sam was able to walk down to Renato’s shop and Renato always had a chair ready for Sam to sit down on and spend time there before his homeward journey.