Napoleonic weekend in Lucca 2 – Grand houses, guided tours and gardens

Saturday’s schedule was a busy one, so I am going to divide Saturday up in two posts here (I have enough material from that day alone to make up 4 or 5 posts probably, but I am going to try to stick to two).

After breakfast at the hotel (to which some people came already dressed in costume. Love it!) we quickly set about getting ready and together a big group of us from the same hotel set off, hurrying through the narrow and cobbled streets of Lucca to get to the first place we were to visit that day, Palazzo Mansi. This was a big beautiful house that we got to wander around in, looking and marveling at all the stunning (and rather extravagant!) rooms, paintings on the walls and one or two pretty impressive beds!

Hurrying through the streets of Lucca

Waiting around before we were allowed to go inside the palazzo

Pretty ladies in pretty outfits! 

There were MANY beautiful ceilings! This is one of them

And this is another one

Lovely paintings and stylish ladies

I think this picture is funny. There must have been something very interesting on the wall by the look of it!

Aylwen found a sweet little dog. I think it is hard to see what is painting and what is reality here!

Thilda enjoying the shade out on the balcony

Told you many of the rooms were pretty extravagant! This was one of the ‘worst’ ones, topped only (I think) by the next picture

That’s a bed in there, in case you can’t see! 

A slightly more “normal” bed. Isabel and I had to have a peek inside

And another more toned down bed. Still exeptionally pretty thought in my eyes!

After Palazzo Mansi We headed back to the place we had been the night before, for the dance run-through, Palazzo Ducale. Because here we had been given permission to visit some of the rooms of the house that are not normally open to the public! These rooms were some of Elisa Baciocchi Bonaparte’s own private rooms, they were absolutely lovely and it was so nice to see them!

Oh how splendid it all looked when we were all walking together! I wonder how many cameras managed to capture us on a picture as we walked past…

In Palazzo Ducale, waiting in the hall before being allowed into the rooms

Napoleon’s bed!!! Certainly not one of the more impressive beds of the ones we had seen that day, but definitely the one that was most exciting to see! 

This was one of the rooms I liked best! I just love the colors and the light, airy atmosphere of the room

The ceiling in here wasn’t too bad either! 

This was a very special room! The way the walls were painted it almost felt like you were outdoors!


Isabel and I in a lovley “forest”

Corina and Odette sitting down for a rest in the amazing painted room

Apparently she has decorated these rooms herself (well, I highly doubt that she did the actual work herself. I’m struggling to picture her with a paint brush in hand, redecorating the walls….) and I must give her credit for great taste! These rooms were in my opinion some of the prettiest that I saw on this trip, and believe me, I saw LOTS of pretty rooms!!

As we had finished looking through Elisa’s private rooms in Palazzo Ducale it was time for lunch. For lunch we all sat down together at a restaurant in Piazza Napoleone. Needless to say there were a lot of people watching us as we sat there in our costumes, enjoying a lovely meal together in the glowing heat of the sun.

If you are in costume and you see a merry-go-round, you simply HAVE to pose on it! 

I love this picture of Margarita and Aylwen’s dresses!

Lunch over we made our way to meet a man who does guided tours of Lucca, and who was to guide us for about an hour and a half through this pretty little city, telling us some of it’s fascinating history. I confess that before deciding to go to this event I knew absolutely nothing of Lucca. I hadn’t even heard of the place. And even as I was there now I cannot say I knew a great deal either. So I really enjoyed this tour, getting to improve my knowledge on this subject!

According to our guide Lucca used to be a much more important and significant place than it is now. And through history when other parts of Italy and most of the other cities in Tuscany have been occupied by various great powers Lucca has always remained independent and kept itself out of any such things. The only outside person to ever possession of  Lucca was none other than Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte himself.

One thing that our guide told us as to the former importance of Lucca was that in Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace Lucca is mentioned on the very first page of the book! In the beginning of the book there are some characters talking about this new ruler of France (Napoleon Bonaparte) and someone mentions that he has even taken possession of Lucca, as a way to describe the importance of this man! That is how our guide put it. And obviously being a huge fan of War and Peace this was something that appealed to me! So I made a mental note to check my own copy of the book as soon as I got home. I did so, and at first managed to find no mention of Lucca at all! Quite disappointed I searched without success. But in the end I did finally find it, and realized that the reason I hadn’t found it at first was because I had looked too far down on the page, Lucca is the sixth word used, in the whole book!

Sorry, got sidetracked there for a bit. But it’s one of those things that really impresses me.

Let me continue with my story of our adventures that day.

We walked around the city and got to hear lots of interesting things, but my favorite part of the tour was when we came to this grand house, Palazzo Pfanner, where we went to have a look around the garden. It was such a beautiful and lovely garden! I just loved it! The fountain, the roses, the lemon trees and the gorgeous house that was the backdrop. After a long, but wonderful, day walking around in the Italian summer heat (costumes like these with several layers really are more suitable for slightly cooler weather!) it was also nice to sit down for a short while on the grass, just taking in the stunning surrounding. I could have stayed there all day! But alas we soon had to leave again as our tour was continuing on a bit further before finishing in the big theater, Teatro Giglio.

Palazzo Pfanner. I honestly wouldn’t mind a house like this!!

They had so many lovely roses!

I do have a weakness for roses…!

Me and two dashing gentlemen in uniform

Anita looks lovely and fits well in with all the statues here

I’m proud of getting this picture, I just love the way it turned out! And these two gentlemen lounging on the stone bench look like they could have stepped straight out of a Jane Austen novel!

Palazzo Pfanner again

As the tour finished I grabbed a quick ‘gelato’ with some of my friends before heading back to our hotel to rest and refresh ourselves before the grand ball that evening!

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