Ville Lucchesi: itinerary, visit the villas around Lucca

Park of Villa Reale - Marlia
Park of Villa Reale - Marlia

The villas of Lucca can be visited by following nature trails with routes of varying length that connect to each other.

Visit the villas around Lucca

In the countryside surrounding the city are the villas of Lucca, splendid buildings dating back to the period from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, built by nobles and wealthy merchants with solid economic and intellectual resources. The elegant buildings are located within large parks, protected by the ancient walls and harmonious inserted in pleasant surroundings with vineyards and olive groves.

The current ownership of the villas is, in most cases, the descendants of the old families that realized, and of them, with few exceptions, can be visited only park where abound, in many cases, plants and trees.

These residences are connected by paved roads passable by car convenient but, for those who want to reach them using the bike or on foot, there are itineraries that provide, in addition to paved roads, even dirt roads and marked tracks, which allow to cross the beautiful countryside of Lucca, savoring all fully pleasing shades of colors and scents.

Itinerary Lucchese villas

Villa Reale Marlia
Villa Reale, in Marlia, is considered to be one of the most important historic residences in Italy. In the 19th century it was home to Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister and Princess of Lucca.

Only 8km from Lucca, the property extends to 16 hectares and includes a number of spectacular gardens, botanical rarities and impressive architecture, offering many points of interest throughout the park.

In 2015 the new owners fell in love with the Villa and took on the challenge of bringing it back to its original splendour, beginning a large-scale programme of restoration.

Two years on from the start of the project, the façades of the main buildings have already been restored (work on the interiors is still in progress), and the gardens returned to their former glory.

The architecture dates from different historical periods, with various buildings located around the estate. The imposing Villa Reale and the Clock House dominate the higher end of the park, whilst the Chapel of San Francesco Saverio (the patron saint of tourists) is in the middle. Heading south, you pass the nymphaeum, known as “Grotto of Pan”, and the oldest building on the estate, the Bishop’s Villa.

The park is unusual in its large number of elegant gardens. Following the suggested route, you can take in the Italian Garden of the Bishop’s Villa, admire the Hispanic-Moorish Spanish Garden and the famous Lemon Garden with over 200 pots of citrus fruits, and finish at the stunning Green Theatre where Paganini entertained Elisa Baciocchi on summer nights.

Another unique aspect of the park is the presence of picturesque water features. The camellia-lined pathway has a romantic stream alongside it, which runs down into the Lake, while a little further along you can see the estate’s colourful 1920s swimming pool. A historic fish pond faces the Lemon Garden, from where you can glimpse the Green Theatre’s fountain. Lastly, enjoy the intricate stonework and rushing waterfalls of the Water Theatre behind Villa Reale.

Villa Oliva San Pancrazio
Near Villa Reale, in San Pancrazio, is Villa Oliva, which was built by the powerful family Buonvisi in the sixteenth century. Over time there have been several owners, to the current members of the Oliva family. The Villa has a beautiful park full of corners very suggestive.

Villa Grabau San Pancrazio
Villa Grabau, in San Pancrazio, was built on an existing building in 1412, and towards the end of the sixteenth century took part in the Renaissance style that has maintained, notwithstanding the important transformations that occurred between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries that have conferred a neoclassical look. Was owned by the King James Version, important Lucchese family of merchants. The family Grabau is the current owner. Inside the beautiful park is a limonaia where every winter are hospitalized more than 100 lemon trees.

Villa Mansi Segromigno
Villa Mansi, in Segromigno in Monte, in the sixteenth century of family ownership Benedetti, was sold in six hundred to Cenami, which the architect from Urbino Muzio Oddi did expand the building and renovate the park. Further work was carried out on several occasions by Mansi, already established in the seventeenth century silk merchants in Europe, owners of the villa from 1675 to 2009. The villa has a beautiful and elegant mannerist style facade, the park opposite impression nineteenth century, presents still traces of the eighteenth-century arrangement performed on the project of the famous architect Filippo Juvarra. A Glossy Saminiati, known as Lucida Mansi, the beautiful wife of Gaspare Mansi, is linked to a legend. It is said that the young man had made a pact with the devil, who would sell his soul in exchange of youth for thirty years. At the end of this period the devil would reappear and would Lucida loaded on a fiery chariot, and after covering the walls of Lucca between the heart-rending laments of his victim, leaving a column of black smoke, he would plunge the chariot in the waters of the pond the Botanical Garden adjacent to the walls. It is said that even today in full moon nights you can see reflected on its waters the face of Lucida.

Villa Torrigiani Camigliano
Villa Torrigiani, in the hamlet of Camigliano, from the second half of the sixteenth century and originally apparteveva the powerful family Bonvisi, then was bought by Nicolao Santini, Ambassador of the Republic of Lucca at the court of Louis XIV (the Sun King). The villa is in the Rococo style, the result of the restructuring took place in the seventeenth century, at the behest of Santini. The gardens were designed drawing on the work of the great architect of the King of France, Le Notre, of this accommodation are still traces in the current garden transformed in the nineteenth century. In 1816, following the marriage of the heir victory Santini with the Marquis Pietro Torrigiani Guadagni, the house passed a dowry to the family Torrigiani.