Between the 16th and 19th centuries it was fashionable for the wealthiest Lucca families to have a home outside the city in which to pass the warm-weather months, enjoying the pleasures of rural life. In these four centuries well-to-do merchants, nobles and high-ranking politicians built several hundred villas in the countryside, creating an authentic landscape where the beauties of the patrician estates went hand in hand with meticulous care for the land.
Through the centuries both the mansions and their parks were often transformed according to the style in vogue, to maintain the fashionable elegance suited to the status of their owners. Thus originally Renaissance villas took on a decidedly Baroque imprint and later, in some cases, were made into exemplars of the Neoclassical.
Most of these villas still exist and often their architecture attests to the stylistic evolution that todays translates into historical stratification. Some of them, the most distinctive for their formal richness and historical value, have been classed as monuments. And for nine of these I have created the itinerary I am offering you.
Five estates are at the foot of the mountain rising from the Lucca plain to the north. Among them, Villa Oliva, Villa Grabau and Villa Reale are near the town of Marlia, while Villa Mansi and Villa Torrigiani are near Segromigno. Another, Villa Bernardini, is located in Vicopelago, at the foot of the Pisan Mountains, and still another, Palazzo Pfanner, is in the old part of Lucca. To these are added the historic Garzoni Gardens, near Collodi, and the Montecarlo Fortress adjacent to the village of the same name.
The guide works offline and it consists of
- 1 Itinerary through 9 Villas
- 89 pictures 10 of which panoramic
- 16 informative files consisting of a descriptive text and photo gallery
- 9 minutes speech
- 1 map
- Info about local accommodation facilities an food & wine producers