During our recent visit to Tuscany I was inspired by Monty Don’s “Great Gardens of Italy” and his piece about the Villa Reale and Villa Torrigiani. My plan was to visit both gardens, but I was thwarted by those with slightly less enthusiasm!
Anyway I managed to persuade the family to come to Villa Torrigiani, and what a spectacle it was!
The Villa is situated in Camigliano and is known locally as Villa di Camigliano, it is one of the imposing villas bordering the important town of Lucca. This was luckily for me also situated near our villa in Montecarlo, Tuscany – some 8km away.
The Villa and it’s gardens were opened to the public in 1967 after the last Marquis Torrigiani, Carlo Luca, left it to his daughter.
Driving towards the Villa from Camigliano you can see the imposing form of the house on the foothills above you. Driving closer the road suddenly bends to the left. Here there is a gated entrance leading to a gravel tree lined driveway some 400m long leading towards the main entrance of the Villa. A magnificent house.
We arrived at about 11am, not a particularly good time, as the sun is high and it can in August be blisteringly hot! The gates open at 9am, so if you are thinking of making the trip I’d recommend an early visit. We were driving a rather nice new Alfa Romeo Guiletta, which sits low on the ground – an unexpected treat thanks to Hertz who decided to upgrade our car hire. Be careful as you drive up the driveway to the car parking area as there are some deep ruts that could damage your vehicle. We noticed them early on and thank goodness managed to avoid them.
We parked the car in the shade then walked up to the main gates. The gates stand some 5-6m high, then the outer pillars sporting 2 huge urns tower a further 2m above these. The urns were filled with red geraniums. I hope for the sake of the gardeners there is a watering system!
The Villa and the park, built c1500 was the summer residence of the Buonvisi family. In the 17th C it was purchased by the Marquis Nicolao Santini, who was Ambassador of the Republic of Lucca at the court of Louis XIV at Versailles. Not surprising that the transformation of the gardens that followed may have been heavily influenced by the grandeur of the French Palace.
In 1816 Pietro Torrigiani married Vittoria Santini and the Villa was hence known as Villa Torrigiani. It is his coat of arms that now feature on the front of the house.
The front and rear gardens are essentially laid to lawn with ornamental ponds, and bordered by shrubs and woodland. A circular gravel pathway leads right round the gardens and villa. At the far rear of the garden there is an impressive gateway (that lines directly up with the front entrance) leading out into open fields and a superb view up the hillside.
Dotted around the gardens and woodland are various statues and water features including a Statue of Baccus, and Statue of Eolo. To the right-hand side of the gardens are the more formal areas which feature The Sunken Garden, a Large Rectangle Fish Pool, a Grotto, and a rather impressive circular garden area featuring huge terracotta pots and fruit trees.
So well worth a visit. Here are some links you may find useful……..