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Between history and legend    

Legend has it that the temple of Diana arose on the mountain of Pratofiorito, on the ruins of which was built the monumental church of S. Cassiano di Controne.

This legend, nevertheless, seems to confirm the fact that Pratofiorito, in medieval and modern times, was considered the site of diabolic meetings of the witches of the Lucca area. But what has that to do with the myth of Diana? The pagan myth of Diana, together with the Christian one of Salomè, is considered the originating source of sorcery. Diana, in fact, is the lady of the night, of the hunt, of the freedom of nature, while Erodiade (Salomè), condemned to roam in the company of her evilness for having asked and obtained the life of John the Baptist, represented suffering in transgression, relieved only through nocturnal and secret ceremonies.

The cult of Diana and Salomè maintained an essentially beneficial character until the XII century: later it will be the refined treatises of the Dominicans to depict the witch as a diabolic being to pursue and extinguish. In the depths of the Archive of the State of Lucca is kept a trial dating back to 1589, during the full “witch hunt”. The accused is a certain Crezia of Agostino Mariani from Pieve di San Paolo accused of having frequented the witches sabbath, of having killed children and adults by sucking their blood, as well as using this for evil, medicinal purposes and magic potions.

Before being condemned to death, while she suffered lacerating tortures, Crezia confessed to being sprinkled with oil and of having flown, together with her friends to Pratofiorito to take part in the orgy with the devil...

(Bibliography: E. Galasso Calderaia, C. Sodini, “Abratassà” - Tre secoli di stregherei in una libera Repubblica”, Maria Pacini Fazzi editore, Lucca 1989).


Eroiade (Salomé)
Historical points of interest    
The earliest traces of human settlement date back to the VIII century B.C. with the finding of a number of tombs of the Ligurian-Apuan population. One such finding was made just a short distance from our farm and now the tomb is jealously guarded in the National Museum of Villa Guinigi of Lucca.

The Ligurian-Apuan population used our area for seasonal livestock movement. Around 200 B.C. the area paid dearly for the help it gave to Hannibal during the second Punic war, and when the Romans had the better of them at the end of the war they deported 60,000 Ligurian-Apuans to force them into slavery to the region of Sagno. The area remained under the dominion of the Romans until the day of its downfall and of this period there are no traces except for the place names, like for example “CASTRO” (settlement) which to this day is a resort near us.

After the fall of the Roman Empire the traces are lost until 1000 A.D. When we find the testimony in the Episcopal registers that the local population paid a tax to the Bishop of Lucca.. In 1245 the emperor Fredrick II bequeathed the area to the people of Lucca for their loyalty: From this moment on our green pastures followed the fates of Lucca and the Vicariate of the Lima Valley and represented the advanced sentinel of the Republic of Lucca on the border with Modena.

In the following years the area remained hidden among its woods, without leaving noticeable traces and living in anonymity until when towards the second half of the XIX century, the migratory phenomena overseas, principally to America, and beyond the Alps, took an a certain significance. Gradual depopulation began at this time which slowed down partially between 1934 and 1940 and stopped during the war, resumed more intensely from 1946 with the emigration of entire family units, which ventured to far away lands even for a mere pittance.

(Bibliography: B. Cherubini, “I Bagni di Lucca”, Maria Pacini Fazzi editor, Lucca 1998)
Frederick II


Farmhouse agriturismo a Bagni di Lucca Garfagnana Tuscany