Fabbriche di Casabasciana, outside Bagni di Lucca and on the road to Abetone, is a place one tends to go through without really noticing it. Yet there are things there well worth stopping for. There is a nice restaurant called il Topo Gigio (after the well-known Italian children’s mouse character) owned by the same person who has Dante’s Divine Comedy very much under his belt by heart. (For a recitation I attended by this extraordinary man see my post at https://longoio2.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/inferno-at-fornoli/)
The grocery shop selling local products is also well worth a visit.
Until not so long ago it was possible to obtain fresh trout at Ennio Stefani’s trout farm, which was a converted paper mill or cartiera.( See Anna Blundy’s article on him at http://journalisted.com/article/7ily – I once gave Ennio a CD of that Schubert quintet…)
Another thing to do at Fabbriche di Casabasciana (“Fabbro”= smith, so “Fabbriche” means “place of smithies”, a name which is now extended to all manufacturing centres and factories in general) is to take a walk down by the river Lima. In summer there’s some fine bathing here and even some natural hydrotherapy where one can lie down on a rock and have the fresh stream waters swirl around one.
There is a German who has rescued a former mill here. It’s called the Mulino Verde and is located near Cevoli. Look out for the signs and one can cross on a bridge reminiscent of WWII baileys. Formerly used for grinding both chestnut and wheat flour the mill also comprised a smithy where iron farm equipment was manufactured or repaired using an anvil. Dating back to the late eighteenth century the Mulino Verde is available for holiday rental at http://www.linnig.net/ if one can read the German or Italian instructions there!
Here are some pictures I took of the Mill on my first visit there in summer 2006.
Fabbriche di Casabasciana really comes to life on the last Sunday of May when the feast of the Immaculate Virgin is celebrated in the little oratorio there with a procession and both sides of the road going through the village are lit up by candles.
For me the underside of the bridge which carries the Brennero road across the Brandeglio stream, with its ellipitical arches is one of the most beautiful examples of brickwork in our area:
So don’t always pass by Fabbriche as you by-pass it…..