|Bagni di Lucca Villa’s Palazzo della Lena, better known as the ‘municipio’ or town hall, is the town’s oldest building and dates back to the mid-sixteenth century.
It’s named after the ancient family of Lena, one of whose illustrious ancestors’ tombs is marked by a marble slab placed in the centre of the nave of Corsagna’s parish church.
The palazzo’s exterior has proud stonework worthy of some of the finest Florentine palaces. The interior houses the council chamber with ceiling frescoes decorated by the coat-of-arms of the villages which comprise the comune. On one side of this noble room are paintings dating to the nineteen thirties and including work by the Barga artists Bruno Cordati. One of the canvases amusingly depicts a local figurinaio selling plaster souvenir statues to a just-landed Cristopher Columbus in the new world. This is probably to emphasis the point that such craftsmen were in existence well before the great navigator was born!
The palazzo’s entrance hall is graced by the beautiful statue of a female bather which has become the symbol of this spa town.
Anyone who has had to enter the palazzo Lena on council business will have realised that it’s full of stairs and steps and a warren of passages giving few concessions to those persons who have reduced mobility. The present council has done much to redress this situation and yesterday a ceremony was held at the palazzo to inaugurate the completion of the works to make the whole building more accessible. Mayor Betti addressed a substantial crowd in the brilliant sunshine of the palace’s garden courtyard. The mayor stated that the restoration and restructuring of the town hall in order to make the place accessible to all without hindrance was carried out under various separate contracts – so no excuse now for failing to pay one’s council tax!
Among dignitaries present, in addition to regional administrators, were Max Mallegni, the president of the provincial disabled association, Paolo Bonassin of the accessibility committee, Massimo Diodati from the National Disabled Association and a representative for the National Blind Association.
A tour of the improved facilities was then undertaken. The old blocked archway which formerly led to the ufficio anagrafe (registry office) has been opened out to provide wheelchair access to the rear of the building.
Here there is a new lift reminding me somewhat of the one in Lucca’s own town hall.
There is also a wheelchair ramp.
Inside the palazzo floors have been smoothed out and steps reduced wherever possible. This was a particularly difficult job to do since the building is historically listed and everything has to be carried out with regard to this fact.
Finally, the proceedings finished up with a beautifully prepared rinfresco which proved most scrumptious!