September 28, 2018 - Lucca and Pisa, Tuscany, Museums, Historical landmarks
A surprising number of Elegant and beautiful historic villas for summer dwelling surround Lucca, set in formal designed gardens in the hills surrounding the city,
Many of these beautiful country residences were built between the 15th and 19th centuries, and most are still in private ownership. There is a website with details of all the Villas and how and when to visit.
It is believed to date around the middle of the 15th century and has a wonderful formal yet spacious facade, marked by a loggia under 5 tall arched vaults. Originally built for the "Buonvisi" family, it remained in the family until the death of the last heir, in the 19th century. Now it is owned by the Oliva family and is available for weddings and ceremonies.
Originally built by rich Lucca merchants on the remains of a small hamlet, it has been extensively renovated in remodelled in the 18th century. The original family were the Diodati, now the villa is owned by the Grabau, and is remarkable in its conservation of period furniture, features and paintings. The nine hectar park is also remarkable, as is the Limonaia, built in the 17th century and still housing over a hundred large lemon trees in terracotta vases.
The big one. This Villa had an interesting and complex history from its origins before the 10th century, starting life as a Fortress and then being turned into a more genteel Villa by the 15th century. But it was Napoleon's sister, Elisa, who really changed the nature of this place. Napoleon gave the city of Lucca to his sister as a gift, and made her the Queen of Etruria - it was from this moment that the Villa was called Villa Reale. Elisa loved the city and the area and this villa had a special place in her heart. After Napoleon's defeat the Villa changed hands again, and much later, in 1923, was bought by the Pecci-Blunts. They enriched the park and the Villa even further, with the help of a French architect Jacques Greber, and had illustrious guests to visit and enjoy the place, including the wonderful American artist John Singer Sargent - this is one of his watercolours of the gardens in the Villa:
There are many more - use the website to find them all - or ask us to draw you up an itinerary!