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Lucchesi villa and gardens tour

  • Lucchesi villa and gardens tour

    Lucca’s villa-studded countryside is a delightful diversion on a hot summer’s afternoon. Most villas are still in appreciative private hands, but often the gardens can be visited even if the house is not open to the public. Wandering through fragrant shrubbery and cool grottoes, past whimsical statuary and fountains, is a reminder of just how wealthy Lucca remains. Two of the grandest are the patrician Villa Torrigiani and the Villa Reale at Marlia both surrounded by beautiful parks. Leave Lucca on the SS12 north, in the direction of the Garfagnana, and after passing through Marlia, turn off at Villa Reale. It was built in the 17th century by the noble Orsetti family but remodelled by Elisa Bacciocchi, Napoleon’s sister. There is a lush park with a lake, which surrounds the formal Italian gardens. Surrounded by clipped yew hedges, its Teatro Verde (outdoor theatre) is the setting for concerts during Lucca’s summer music festival. In Camigliano, near capannori, Villa Torrigiani is a fine example of a late Renaissance villa, owned by the Santini and Torrigiani dynasties since 1636. As Lucca’s ambassador to the French court of Louis XIV, Nicolao Santini remodelled the façade and transformed the gardens. Undertaken in around 1650, the resulting baroque gardens feature grottoes, grotesques, a woodland walk and water gardens.

    Address: Villa Reale: Via Frata Alta 2, Marlia, Capannori
    Web: www.parcovillareale.it

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