Villa Oliva a San Pancrazio

Villa Oliva in San Pancrazio

Villa Oliva in San Pancrazio is one of the great mannerist realisations in Lucchese architecture, and displays characteristics that distinguish it from the others


With a rectangular base, the villa has two floors plus an attic. The rear façade presents a wide and magnificent portico onto which look the windows of the hall on the first floor. The particular visible effect created by the grandiose arches of the portico, and the use of alternative ashlar in the corners of the edifice, make it obvious that the influence of Florentine architecture, and especially that of Ammannati, the architect who projected the reconstruction of the Palazzo degli Anziani in Lucca (1578-1581) is involved. The two gates should be pointed out. On the main gate facing downhill, imposing and massive, there is an alternation of rough and smooth surfaces on the fascias of the columns and in the rays of ashlars in the arches. On the inside façade of the gate, there are two noteworthy grotesque masks. The gate facing uphill, more sober and less impressive in form, is interesting for its elegant lines and its high relief mannerist decoration.
The park in the south zone is arranged with three terraces which sit perpendicularly to the façade. A tree lined avenue situated in the middle terrace leads to the ground in front of the villa. In the uphill facing zone, the space behind the edifice circumscribed by a semi-circle of Holm oak hedges, has in the centre, a grotto where there are waterworks. The park’s fountains are very interesting, some of which are of mannerist stamp.
Source: Lucca and its lands /

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