The architecture of the two-storey palace stands out due to its powerful architectural size and volume. It is so large, it takes up the entire block on the east side of via Novembre IV, via Paolina on the west side, via dell'Olio on the north side and via Machiavelli on the south side. The main façade of the building is located on via Machiavelli. In 1882, the music maestro Giovanni Pacini, on behalf of Princess Paolina, asked Maria Luisa, Duchess of Lucca, for “220 squared braccia of deserted coastline on the outskirts of Viareggio on the north-west side of the city”. Giovanni Lazzarini, architect of the Napoleonic princedom in Lucca, was responsible for designing and building the villa. The main cubic shaped body of the villa was completed in the first phase of the building’s construction (from 1822 to1824). When Paolina’s sister, Carolina Murat, became its new owner, additions were made to the villa, which doubled its size. Vittorio Papanti, owner of the building from 1858 to 1870, made other changes to the palace, and by doing so, he completely renewed it. He closed off the loggia facing the garden, and then raised the front of the building to connect the two wings, thus constituting a close-packed structure, where only the atrium was left uncovered. The palace, which was bought by the "Real Collegio" in Lucca, was transformed into a boarding school and then enlarged following projects of engineer Vincenzo Paoli. Today, Villa Paolina hosts the Civici Musei di Villa Paolina.
(Article by APT della Versilia)