HISTORY, VAL DI LIMA, TOSCANA
The oldest human presence in the valley, derived from some traces found at the Ponte Maggio caves (Pons Maior), dates back to the Bronze Age. Subsequent attendance, found in Ligurian tombs at Montefegatesi, dates back to the 8th century BC. The territory was inhabited by indigenous peoples who later merged with the Etruscans (in the bottom of the valley) and with the Ligurians (in the mountainous parts).
A large pyramid-shaped stone near a stretch of ancient walls in the village of Casoli has traces of man-made work and next to it there is another stone in the form of a seat: studies bring it back to a sacrificial pagan altar, for others (considered the holes practiced by man), this is an astronomical calendar that would witness to the presence of the Celts.
The toponymic witnesses to Roman and Longobard colonization. Corsena was certainly one of the first Municipalities of the Valley at the beginning of the 13th century to have written rules contained in the Statutes. The powerful Principality of Lucca demanded that the Feuds of the Val di Lima subordinate themselves to the Vicaria (a complex of Vici, that is, common towns), which had to defend Lucca for various obligations. The Vicaria ceased in 1802 and in 1923 the community of Bagno di Corsena was established, which in 1862 became the present Municipality of Bagni di Lucca.
Probably known since Roman times, the thermal springs of Bagni di Lucca acquired great renown in the eleventh century, at the time of Countess Matilde of Canossa, and became one of Europe’s major spa resorts. When the Republic became the Principality of Lucca, entrusted by Napoleon Bonaparte to his sister Elisa and her husband Felice Baciocchi in 1805, the so-called “aureus” began for Bagni di Lucca and its Spas. It was Princess Elisa who imprinted the strong development of the spa, who also improved the road conditions and the infrastructures.
Elite of the European Tourism, in the 19th century it was called by the English “The Tuscan Switzerland”. The Anglo-Saxons were among the first to discover the Valley of Lima and the therapeutic properties of its waters, loving it so to make it a small homeland.
Also, in Bagni di Lucca was established the first gambling house in Europe: the Casinò.