Lucca has many compelling things to see inside its Baroque walls, but if you have transportation or can find a tour, touring the villas on the outskirts of Lucca makes for a very interesting day. These villas were largely the summer residences of some very influential merchants, many used mainly as summer residences with fabulous gardens and waterworks that relied entirely on gravity.
Below is ar pictures showing the villa and gardens of the historic Villa Torrigiani, visited in the late spring. Pictures are forbidden inside the villa, which has some amazingly well preserved frescos.
Villa Torrigiani has many of the same attributes as other Lucca Historic Villas. There are extensive waterworks, all of which use gravity instead of pumps to move water around. Thus you might come in the middle of a dry summer and notice that the fountains aren't running--or are just dribbling.
The garden grotesques and grottos provided amusement and hidden places for lovers trysts. The folks who owned these villas were big on parties--and probably trysts as well.
The walls of Villa Torrigiani are very thick and provide a nearly constant temperature year round. This is good for the art and especially the frescos, which are still vibrant after all these years.
Below is a map showing Villa Torrigiani (the purple arch map marker in the southeast corner of the map) and a couple of other historic villas in the vicinity.
We highly recommend eating Antica Locanda di Sesto, located to the west of the villas. Chef Aurilio Barattini adheres to the traditions of the famers around Lucca.
Lucca and the Autostrada are located to the southwest of the Villas referred to in this article.
We suggest visiting two villas on the map, stopping for lunch at the restaurant mentioned above. Besides Villa Torrigiani, see Villa Grabau, 7km from Lucca, which has some very interesting gardens with plants and trees from all over the world, including many from California. There is also a Box Hedge Theater; outdoor theater was popular in the 17th century. You can also stay on the Villa Grabau property; there are two detached buildings you can rent. See the link above for more.
If you have time, see also Villa Oliva, marked on the map.
We recommend Serena Giovannoni of Wish Versillia as a guide who can provide comfortable transportation and guide services, especially useful if you do not have a car or if you just want to leave the navigating to someone else. The roads in this area are narrow and confusing. Leave the driving to someone who knows the way.
See our Lucca Map for some suggestions on things to do and places to stay in historic Lucca inside the walls. If you have a short time in Lucca, you may wish to view our video: Lucca: How to Spend a Morning in the Walled City.
For current weather conditions and historic climate information on Lucca, see: Lucca, Italy, Weather and Historic Climate.