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Discovering the sumptuous Villas of the Piana di Lucca by bicycle

The Via delle Ville is an itinerary that projects tourists into the sumptuous medieval, renaissance and baroque history of the Lucchesia. The tour starts at Villa Bernardini in Vicopelago, hamlet of Lucca not far from the city. This sumptuous villa that belonged to Lucca's ancient and powerful Bernardini family is nowadays a house museum worth visiting because it still retains the original decor.

We continue by entering the town center of Lucca and then take the Puccini bicycle path to Ponte a Moriano. We leave the plain to explore the hills of Lucca, rich in history and traditions in a charming rural setting enriched by luxurious historic residences. The first one we encounter is the Villa Reale di Marlia, also known as the “imperial castle” as it was the home of Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister.

We continue on narrow roads with little traffic to pass in quick succession to Villa Massarosa, Villa Mansi and Villa Torrigiani, this latter is among the most luxurious and scenic of the territory.
The tour continues towards Collodi, Pinocchio’s village, with a visit to the Historic Garzoni Garden and ends in the municipality of Montecarlo opposite the medieval fortress, a very important place in Lucca's history where the Florentines were driven out of Lucca in 1300.

It is possible to return to Lucca by following the route of the Strada del Vino e dell’Olio which passes by Turchetto, Porcari and Capannori before arriving at the walls of the main regional town.

The Piana di Lucca has approximately three hundred villas among small-sized and big-sized villas owned by rich merchants and which once hosted even important historical figures, such as Napoleon Bonaparte’s family.

The return to Lucca from Montecarlo is 15 kilometers long on the plains, which are to be added to the route of Via delle Ville.


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