The Villa Reale di Marlia is located in the municipality of Capannori, in the heart of the Lucca territory, and is one of the most important historic residences in Italy, home also to Elisa Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister and then-sovereign first of Lucca and later all of Tuscany. It was Elisa who in the 1800s gave the Villa its current appearance and the name “Reale”: the Renaissance palace of the noble Orsetti family was restored, the park more than doubled in size and the Villa connected with the nearby Villa del Vescovo.
Today, the restored complex is open for visits. The property extends for 16 hectares and includes the majestic Villa Reale, the elegant Palazzina dell’Orologio, the Villa del Vescovo and the splendid park with its geometrically ordered evergreen shrubs, which still conserves its original 17th-century structure.
Worth seeing are the Green Theatre, planted in 1652 and made up of yew hedges, where the violinist Niccolò Paganini would sometimes perform, and the Lemon Garden, with over 200 vases of citrus plants.
Also quite beautiful are the Garden at the Villa del Vescovo and the Water Theatre, which surrounds a large basin embellished with waterfalls, statues and mascarons, as well as the Art Deco Spanish Garden, the Camellia Walkways, the fish pond and the Grotto di Pan.
A visit to the park offers a multitude of pleasant opportunities to lose yourself amongst the paths, walkways and gardens that together make up an evocative beauty suspended between past and present.