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At 555 metres above sea level, the town is divided into two distinct groups: Vico Alto and Vico Basso. In the upper part of the town, in the square, there is the ancient residence of the Vicar of Val di Lima which also contained the prisons.

The town is dominated by the Balzo Nero (Black Dodge) that dominates it, at the top of the mountain. There was once an ancient fortress and the church of San Marco of which nothing remains.

There are many theories surrounding the origin of the name of the town. Popular traditions would have its origin be in “panis celorum”, bread of the heavens, with reference to the the Eucharist but it seems unreliable. It is more likely to derive from “panicellum”, a diminutive of “panicum”, “ie panìco”, a type of fodder. Ancient documents refer to “Vicus Pannucculorum” but also “Vicus Panitiolorum”.

Another legend says that two Pancelli brothers, exiles from Rome, were born in the village. In the 15th and 16th centuries the inhabitants of Vico went to the Agro Romano fair several times to trade or in search of work and the frequent visits to certain places by the population has changed, over time, some accents and dialects of Vico. The long-lived tradition of arivari or “calderai” travelling merchants introduced the use of a particular dialect that can still be heard among some villagers.

Source: comune di Bagni di Lucca

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