We spend the second day in Lucca and Capannori, discovering the wonderful villas in the area and their gardens.
As a first stop, however, we recommend that you visit the Botanical Garden of Lucca, an island of biodiversity in the city center. Commissioned by the Duchess Maria Luisa of Bourbon, which began in 1820 and houses centuries-old trees with even a majestic appearance of the Lebanese cedar. Don't miss the pond with its water lilies and camellias.
At the end of the visit, we move out of the city to visit a splendid villa. Choose between the Villa Reale di Marlia, Villa Grabau and Villa Oliva. The magnificence of the buildings and gardens is awe-inspiring.
The Villa Reale di Marlia, once the residence of Elisa Baciocchi, Napoleon's sister, extends over 16 hectares with hedges, flower beds, a beautiful Italian garden, a Spanish garden, a lake and the wonderful Viale delle Camellie (avenue of cammellias).
Villa Grabau is entirely furnished with period furniture and paintings and surrounded by a 9 hectare botanical park. Don't miss the spaces of the Limonaia, a lemon greenhouse dating back to 1600 and the Teatrino di Verzura. The Italian garden is home to centuries-old citrus trees, while in the English garden there are rare tree species and monumental trees.
Villa Oliva, built in the mannerist style of Lucca, is surrounded by a beautiful park with terraces, tree-lined avenues, holm oak hedges and many fountains.
In the afternoon, we head towards Capannori and reach Villa Torrigiani. It dates back to the first half of the sixteenth century, but it was in the mid-seventeenth century that Nicolao Santini, ambassador of the Republic of Lucca at the court of the Re Sole (Sun King), transformed the structure into the luxurious residence that we can admire today. The villa, which has also been the location for the sets of many films, including the Marchese del Grillo with Alberto Sordi, has a beautiful French garden. Going past rows of cypresses, flower beds and hedges, you can reach the Nymphaeum of the Winds, a beautiful grotto with statues, water features and mosaics.
Alternatively, we can spend our second afternoon discovering spring in Pisa and Lucca at Villa Mansi. Inside, you can discover the canvases and frescoes of the Lucca painter Stefano Tofanelli, but what interests us particularly is the garden, with its fountains and statues by Filippo Juvarra. Juvarra removed the Italian garden to make room for the English park where still today there are beautiful oaks and yews, a bamboo grove and the queen of every Tuscan spring: the camellia.