Napoleonic Pageant at Bagni di Lucca

Last Sunday a major event took place at Bagni di Lucca as part of Lucca’s Napoleonic circle celebration. Around eighty persons in period costumes descended upon our town. Starting from the Circolo dei forestieri they walked up to the Villa Webb (whose past guests included Byron).

By some regrettable fluke I was not present and, indeed, the event was not publicized at all widely. Not even the local pro-loco web site, which is normally quite good in these matters, listed it. There were, in fact, many more people in costume than those watching them.

Where was I? I’d returned to Ponte a Serraglio at 2 pm only to be greeted by a violent hail storm and decided to get home as fast as possible The weather, however, did clear up in time for the pageant to proceed. I heard eye witness accounts from a friend living in Bagni alla Villa who said that the dresses worn were particularly exquisite.

Rather than deny the pleasure of any of my readers I am presenting photographs of the event by permission of pro-loco chair Valerio Ceccarelli.

This occasion, which should have celebrated the Napoleonic connections of Bagni di Lucca, was clearly one of the grandest event for the comune for some time but it was, regrettably, poorly advertised and even more poorly attended. It’s quite a shame for a place where Bonaparte’s sister, Elisa Baiocchi, princess of Lucca, had her summer palace and where the casinò, the first in Europe to be established, was attended by the most distinguished guests of a past age.

Evidently, the empire-style guests moved on to parade themselves in Barga before returning to Lucca where a grand ball was held with over one hundred costumed participants and dancers coming from all parts of Europe.

There was a complaint from some residents that the turn-out to watch wasn’t as wonderful as it should have been and that a toast should have been offered and that a local band playing the Marseillaise would have been welcome. However, it’s clear that those attending, both as participants and as spectators, enjoyed themselves. May this event be repeated as soon as possible so that I, at least, won’t miss it the next time!

Meanwhile I leave you with the photographs of an event I was unfortunately absent from, with gratitude to Giulia Maraini and Valerio Ceccarelli:

For more information on Napoleonic events in Lucca see


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