Getting to the Root of the Problem

An excavator yesterday was hard at work digging up the stumps of trees, already sawn up after they collapsed in the great storm that affected this part of the world at the beginning of last March.

One realises just how big these “green-robed senators” (as Keats called them) were. The trees weren’t green-robed at the time of the storm, thankfully, else many more would have fallen, as occurred in England’s mammoth storm of 1989.

It’s clearly sad to see the last remains of around ten veteran trees go from BDL’s central” park, otherwise known as the “Parco Pubblico Contessa Casalini” but even trees, the largest and longest-living beings on planet earth, don’t last for ever.

Bagni di Lucca’s public park may not be as cool and shady this summer as it was in the past but, in my opinion, too many trees, of gigantic height and too close to each other, had been allowed to grow and perhaps become a danger to the public, especially to the children who meet up in the play area there.

It is fortunate, too, that the water tower was undamaged although a tree fell incredibly close to it. The fountain erected by the late mayor Donati was also miraculously unscathed. The biggest stroke of luck is that the trees fell early in the morning when here was no-one walking around in the Parco.


For pictures of the park just after the storm see the end of my post at

There is also a video published by “progetto rinascimento” at

Furthermore, there is a post by Debra Kolkka on the park dating back to 2012, and thus before the great storm, at

Incidentally, who was the Contessa Casalini after whom the gardens are named?

The contessa’s first name was Matilda and she was born in Florence in 1873. Matilda was the daughter of Count Enrico Casalini and Countess Carlotta (Charlotte) Camilla Luisa dei Principe Ruspoli Casalini, the crème de la crème of Italian aristocracy. Matilda had a villa in BdL and, upon her death in 1941 in Nice, France according to the terms of her will her private garden was donated to Bagni di Lucca who naturally named the new green space after her.

The contessa also had a wonderful modernist villa at Lesa on Lake Maggiore (see which is now a holiday home (for bookings see

Evidently Contessa Casalini was a generous and warm-hearted person; I’m still searching for more information about her or contacting anyone who remembers her. The Contessa would have naturally been devastated by the damage to her garden but I’m sure she would have been the type to roll up her sleeves and encourage its re-planting.

Incidentally, for those of you low-cost flyers who bought a Ryanair “Hostess calendar for 2013” a Matilda Casalini was featured among the pin-ups. Any relation?


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