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Villa Bottini in Lucca

Historical Buildings

Built by the Buonvisi family, the villa was bought by Elisa Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister, in the early 19th century

Villa Bottini or Buonvisi "al Giardino," is not only one of the most beautiful villas in the Lucca area, it is also historically important: its architecture served as a model for the construction of many other villas in the area, and the “ideal villa” designed by Sanminiati seems to have been based on the Bottini.

The rectangular structure comprises a basement, raised ground floor, low-roofed first floor and a central cant with a loggia. The back façade covering the raised ground floor vaunts a small door that leads to the main hall.

The large openings and the balance between the symmetries and proportions of the architectural elements bestow the building with a graceful, harmonious lightness that is rarely found in other villas in the area.

The vaults above the main hall and porch were frescoed by Ventura Salimbeni, who was influenced by Raphael’s work at Villa Farnesina. These frescoes are the only example of 16th-century interior decoration remaining in Lucca’s villas. Neoclassical decorations were added in the 19th century when the villa was owned by Princess Baciocchi. The large entryways to the garden are impressive and are quite massive compared to the doors on the building.

The gate to the nymphaeum, the first example of Venetian windows in the villas present in this area, is whimsical and original, alternating smooth and rough materials in the columns and topped by two river statues that form the shape of a broken tympanum.

Today, the villa is owned by the municipality and is used to host numerous cultural events.

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