Entranced by a garden created by works in three different eras – a Baroque garden, a romantic park, and a Deco garden from the 1920s – Prince von Metternich summed up one of the most important villas in the Lucchesia as “a truly divine place”.

The garden around the villa, once owned by the Buonvisi family, and the so-called “dell’Orologio” building took on a new baroque-style faciesin the late 17th century. Main attractions are: a grotto/theatre of stone and calcareous concretions, with a semicircular basin in front of it, which partitions off the space behind the palazzo; a fishpond, a rectangular basin surrounded by high box and yew hedges, ending in Leda’s nymphaeum, with figures representing the Arnoand the Serchiorivers; a lemon garden, housing more than 200 potted citrus plants; and a famous open-air theatre with three terracotta statues of Colombina, Pantalone and Balanzone, in tribute to the Commedia dell’Arte. In the early 19th century, Elisa Baciocchi – Princess of Lucca and Piombino, and Napoleon’s sister – purchased and enlarged the property by incorporating the Bishop’s villa. She revamped the estate with an august, neoclassical look, and a 17th-century highlight garden, a vast English-style park. Irregular lawns and now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t views alternate to create a varied scene that, lower down, ends with a lake surrounded by centuries-old specimens of Liriodendron tulipifera, the tulip tree. Further changes were made in the 1920s, when French landscape architect Jacques Gréber created a Deco garden for the Pecci Blunt family. This proved to be the final precious piece of a wonderous puzzle: from the majestic romantic park to the refined Islamic-inspired water garden and its sophisticated colour combinations, running from purple bougainvillea to gold-mosaiced channels.


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Landscape architects

For many years, this French architect worked in North America. Rather than creating gardens, he was interested in landscape architecture and urban design. He was a member of the “City Beautiful” movement.