The illustrious mansion called the Villa Reale di Marlia comes with its own old world charm and splendor that is not seen in many of the residences in Italy. This one has seen the glorious past and is a timeless beauty of its own kind. A leisure walk around the villa will help you notice the intricate details of the villa and the surroundings which are mesmerizing just like the villa. The records of the villa date back to the 1517 when the Buonvisi family bought the villa from Avvocati family. Then it was passed on to Oliviero and Lelio Orsetti who later redesigned and made some changes to the villa. Villa Reale was later bought by Elisa Bachiocchi Bonaparte and made it her residence and hence it was called ‘Royal’. She was the Princess of Lucca and the Napoleon’s sister. If you are on a lookout for a historical villa garden, this is it.
The villa and the surrounding area stand on 16 hectors of land and comprises of beautiful gardens, grand homes, botanical attractions that are beautifully decorated over the centuries. Located at the foothills in North Lucca, you can easily gaze the beauty of this priceless beauty, it is a well maintained villa with a history of over many centuries that has seen the stately people in their grand outfits and richness. The original garden was spread in the second half of the 17th century. The upper gardens near the entrance of the building remain largely unchanged. There is the ‘water theater’ that is created in a huge semi circular pool that is decorated with different statues of gods, terracotta tubs of flowers, water spewing masks and a topiary hedge. The theater is surrounded by yew hedges in boxes and has niche windows cut in semi circular hedges. The stage has tilted wings and the statues. Spectators used to sit on the stone seats that were hidden in the bushes. There are two axes that run parallel to each other where one runs to the main axis of the villa that leads to the clock house and the other runs to the lemon gardens where you can enjoy the four flowers based rectangles and the fishpond which is quite huge. Yes, the pool is exquisite as it is surrounded by barrier and also decorative group of statues that depict the ‘Leda and the swan’. The pool also has sculptures of giants that spout water.
The villa is surrounded by 19 hectors of English parks with some of it from the 1600s like the green theater and the open air theater. The walls are adorned with yew hedges and have many terracotta statues. The green theater path is decorated with camellia flowers at the bored. There is also a Spanish garden that is done in a very delicate style. The villa also houses many historical buildings like the villa del Vescovo with Nymphaeum and the Palazzina dell Orologio.
The villa within
The villa is enchanting within as well. There are huge rooms decorated with carving and beautiful paintings for centuries. There are grand rooms and ball rooms where the princess use to hold parties for great artists and noble men of those times. The great violinist Niccolo Paganini also visited the villa and it is rumored that the two had an affair! In 1811, Elisa Bonaparte has renovated the villa in neoclassical style and thus formed the palazzine gatehouses and the entrance elements. The villa itself is decorated tastefully over the centuries and there are pieces of furniture that belong to the Princess. The walls are well decorated that showcase the brilliant art of the decorator.