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Historical Villas, Mansions & Gardens near Lucca

Prestigious & Open to the Public

only minutes from Lucca by car or bus

These 7 selected villas feature a unique style architecture which flourised around the Lucca area and are all furnished with splendid gardens with layouts that borrow from those in Versailes.  Since they are all located within a six kilometer circle, you can easy visit all of them or select a two or three for a day of the "rich & famous" in the Lucca countryside.  Be sure to check the opening hours, since these are private villas many varying  with the availability especially those who allow for private events.

Villa Mansi, garden view

The first villa is perhaps the most spectacular both in its presentation and its history, so if you have room for only one visit, put this one on the top of your list!


Villa Reale

Where: Loc. Villa Reale, Marlia, 55014 Lucca

How to Arrive:
Bus: routes start from the Lucca train station to Marlia. There is a 1 km walk. Check times
Driving : take the toll road A11 to the Capinnori exit, follow SP61 to Viale Europa then towards Marila and Villa Reale.

Open: March - November, daily from 10:00am until 6:00pm

Official Website

Labeled as one of the most beautiful villas in all of Italy. But as of this year only the gardens are open to the public due to a massive restoration operation of the villa.  Even though the villa is closed, they are still worth a visit, so bring a picnic lunch, a blanket and a few hours to relax and enjoy.

The extraordinary history of the Villa Reale estate has unfolded across the centuries with a series of transformations, witnessed by illustrious figures and royal dynasties. The first nucleus was formed from a fortress, where the Duke of Tuscia lived during the early Medieval age. In 1806, Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister and Princess of Lucca, bought the property and the Villa took the name “Reale” (Royal) from Elisa’s title as Queen of Etruria. After the fall of Napoleon, the villa became the summer residence of the new court, and the stage for splendid dances, and often hosting noblemen and royalty.

In 1847, Carlo Ludovico of Bourbon abdicated, bringing an end to Lucca’s political autonomy, and in the second half of the 1800s, the historic residence passed into the hands of the King of Italy. The Count and Countess Pecci-Blunt bought the estate in 1923 and commissioned the restoration of the Park and gardens, with the aim of uniting tradition and innovation. Finally in 2015, a young Swiss couple bought the by then neglected estate and despite the numerous difficulties, the owners accepted the challenge of bringing the Villa Reale back to its former glory.


Villa Olivia

Where: Via delle Ville, 2034, 55100 San Pancrazio, Lucca

How to Arrive:
Bus: routes start from the Lucca train station to Marlia. There is a 1 km walk. Check times Driving : take the toll road A11 to the Capinnori exit, follow SP61 to Viale Europa then towards Marila and Villa Olivia.

Open: Check Website

Official Website

The first recorded document of the Villa goes back to 1593 and is a plan of the grounds of the Villa and a drawing of the palace. The building of the Villa was commissioned by the Buonvisi family at the end of the 15th century and built by Matteo Civitali (1436-1501). The Palace was residence of two Buonvisi Cardinals, Gerolamo and Francesco. It is now a vacation resort, an excellent location for events and has a spectacular garden. In 1661 Cardinal Gerolamo hosted assembly of the clergy that included the participation of Pope Alexander VII at the Villa; and Cardinal Francesco hosted another Synod in 1700.


Villa Grabau

Where: Via per Matraia, 269, 55100 San Pancrazio, Lucca

How to Arrive:
Bus: routes start from the Lucca train station to Marlia. There is a 1 km walk. Check times
Driving : take the toll road A11 to the Capinnori exit, follow SP61 to Viale Europa then towards Marila and Villa Grabau.

Open: Check Website for opening days/hours

Official Website

The Villa is entirely furnished with period pieces and paintings and is surrounded by a 9 hectares botanical park. The name of this villa comes from the last family to have purchased the property, Carolina von Grabau. The base of the structure you see today was built in the 1600’s on top of another home which dates back to the early 1400’s. 

The Park is divided in several architectural gardens and composed by centuries-old trees and true arboreal rarities. While walking through the park, you will discover the “Limonaia” (Lemon house), an impressive and majestic conservatory for XVII century's lemon trees, and the “Teatro di Verzura” (Verzura's theatre), placed in a garden with box tree's wings creating a cosy and romantic atmosphere.

This splendid structure, often used for movie sets, photo shoots and the occasional event, represents the classic type of aristocratic residences found near and in Lucca. During the XIX century the Villa assumed a Neoclassical look, similar to that of Villa Reale of Marlia (mentioned above) after the intervention of Napoleon's sister.


Villa Mansi

Where: Via delle Selvette, 242, 55018 Segromigno in Monte (Capannori) Lucca

How to Arrive:
Bus: routes start from the Lucca train station to Villa Mansi. Check times  
Driving : take the toll road A11 to the Capannori exit, follow SP61 to Via Don Emilio Angeli and Villa Mansi.

Open:Check website for hours/days

What many don't know is that the villa is now open again to the public.  Recently restored, you won't even miss the fact that the rooms are empty!  The decor is stunning, as are the luminous spaces and views onto the garden. The gardens are spectacular and are well worth the entry fee.  Wide grassy spaces, secret ponds, fountains and statues and of course the villa itself make great photo opportunities.  

Many legends exist around the figure of Lucida Mansi, the beautiful wife of Gasparre Mansi and ancestor to the villa namesake.  Sheprobably died of plague in 1649 but some say that shemade a pact with the devil surrendering her young soul exchange of youth for more 30 years of youth and beauty.

At the end of this period Lucida was loaded by the devil on a burning car, and once crossed the Walls of Lucca, it was thrown into the waters of the Lucca municipal botanical dell'Orto pond.

The unusual facade of this villa has two wings flanking a central portico with thin double columns, accessed by a double ramped stairwell. In 1675 the property was acquired by Ottavio Mansi, from a wealthy silk merchant family, and during the 18th century the villa underwent major refurbishment.

Bedroom suite and frescos at Villa Mansi


Villa Torrigiani

Where: Via del Gomberaio 3, 55100 Camigliano (Santa Gemma) Lucca

How to Arrive:
Bus: routes start from the Lucca train station to Villa Torrigiani. There is a 1,5 km walk. Check times 
Driving : take the toll road A11 to the Capannori exit, follow signs to Camigliano and Villa Torrigiani.

Open: See Website

The ticket may seem a bit expensive, but the tour of the villa and the guide, who has quite a bit of information to give you, evens things out a bit.  The garden, now seen in its "English style" with grassy yards and enormous trees, is quite beauitful and well cared for but it is the villa, fully decorated in period furniture that will WOW you! (Sorry no photos are allowed so you will have to see it to appreciate it.)

Originally called Villa Camigliano after the small hamlet where it was built, until it took on the name Villa Torrigiani. The villa stands out from other villas in Lucca and in Tuscany by the multicoloured facade of the main building obtained using different materials: stone grey and tuff alternating yellow pillars and arches, marble statues of white, ochre plaster at the bottom with the upper part in white.

There (were) a number of "giochi d'acqua" (water games) by means of which the marquis would bemuse unwary guests, chasing them into the garden from the upper terrace. Once there, they would try to shelter in the Temple of Flora, only to find themselves soaked by water pouring from the domed ceiling.

The Villa, still fully furnished with original furniture, and the park dates back to the first part of the 1500’s and the powerful Buonvisi family. Then the first half of 1600’s, the Villa di Camigliano was purchased by Marquis Nicolao Santini, ambassador of the Republic of Lucca to the court of Louis XIV who turned it into a luxurious residence with a flower garden and reflecting pools such as those designed by Le Notre for the palace of Versailles.

Villa Torriagiani, back entrance


Villa Mazzarosa

Where: Via del Gomberaio 3, 55100 Camigliano (Santa Gemma) Lucca

How to Arrive:
Bus: routes start from the Lucca train station to Villa Mazzarosa. There is a 1,5 km walk. Check times
Driving : take the toll road A11 to the Lucca East exit, follow signs to SS12 to a roundabout, take the first exit to Villa Mazzarosa

Open: Only open during public events

Official Website

This garden is spectacular to visit when all the plants are in bloom; there is an exceptional collection and variety of plants, some of which are extremely rare! Especially stunning are the camellias which boast a ripe old age and beauty. Most of this is due to the passion and green thumb of Marchese Antonio Mazzarosa, who in the 1800’s gave a new look to the park. One of the best ways to view the garden in during the event Ville in Fiore in May.


Villa Bernardini

Where: Via Vicopelago 573/a, 55100 Lucca

How to Arrive:
Bus: routes start from the Lucca train station to Villa Mazzarosa. There is a 650 mt walk. Check times
Driving : take the toll road A11 to the Capannori exit, follow signs to Camigliano and Villa Mazzarosa.

Open: Check website Reservations are requested if you want to see the villa

Official Website

Villa Bernardini, museum documenting the life of a noble family from the 17th century near Lucca. Often referred to as the Museum Villa Bernardini, it is located literally minutes outside of Lucca and is a typical example of a country villa built between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. In addition to the lovely image it creates, it is one of few which still showcases many elements of its splendid past. Between the architecturally beauty, the many pieces of artwork and the lovely garden this villa is not only beautiful to visit but makes a stunning backdrop to any special occasion.


Villa Garzoni

Where: Via delle Cartiere, 4, 51012 Pescia

How to Arrive:
Bus: routes start from the Lucca train station to Villa Garzoni. There is a 1.9 km walk. Check times http://www.lucca.cttnord.it/
Driving : take the toll road A11 to the Chiesina U., follow signs to Villa Garzoni.

Open: All year. Daily except Sundays from November to February. Open 8:30am to sunset (except weekdays November to February open 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm).

More Information

It's true this villa and garden are not located in the Lucca area but it is close enough that it can be considered a viable point of interest.  Located between Lucca and Pistoia, this fabulous wonderland with Pinocchio, butterflies and a enormous garden definitely make for memorable moments in Tuscany.


Author: Donna Scharnagl

It has been over 24 years since I took my first steps in Italy and I still haven’t found a good reason to leave.  Between the food, the culture, the history, the art, the landscapes … did I mention the food? I have become a lifelong student. And I soon learned that Italians all have stories that long to be told; stories that paint a picture of how hard work produces character, how life is made of ups and downs and how good it feels to laugh.



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