History of Villa Nardi

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Villa Nardi is placed on the eastern slope at the feet of Mount “alle Croci”, a few km south from Lucca, in the village of Massa Pisana. Probably the villa developed on an older building attributed to the period between the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century. In the first part of the 16th century it belonged to the Sergiusti family, then it passed to the Rinaldi family which owned it until 1782. In the first part of the 16th century important restorations of the building were made by Antonio Rinaldi (a solicitor active in Lucca from 1520 to 1571), and during the second half of the 18th century, by Gerolamo Rinaldi, who made substantial changes both to the villa either to the gardens. In 1782 the property was purchased by the marquis Aurelio Mansi, ambassador of the Republic of Lucca at Vienna. After some passages, in 1839 Trivellini-Simoncini family became the new owners and, from them, the currently owners bought the villa and its agricultural property in 1969; they made a conservative restoration of the building and its gardens as we can see nowadays.


 The building has rectangular plan, compact shape, articulated on three floors. It is surrounded by gardens placed on various levels around three sides of the building. In front of the main façade eastward orientated there are two gardens, placed on two different terraces and surrounded by high stone walls (“hortus conclusus”); a wrought iron gate is the main entrance to the gardens from the outside. In the higher garden there are a marble-stone well with refined wrought iron banisters similar to the ones of the sandstone steps double stairs of the main façade, and some secular camellia trees of various cultivars; one of these trees, placed in the centre of the garden, is dated back to the second half of the 18th century and it is considered one of the largest and oldest of Europe; this tree has a spherical shape, pink flowers, and is about 8 m tall and wide; this cultivar is called “Diamantina” by some botanists. A double sandstone stair with curved flights of steps, wrought iron railing and two small fountains leads to the lower garden; this garden is characterized by the presence of vegetable patches, fruit trees, lemon and orange plants into large old terracotta vases (this part of the garden is the so called “pomaro”). In the center of this garden there is a sandstone pool on which is engraved the year 1771, probably corresponding to the last restoration of the garden and of the house and also to the date of the large camellia tree in the superior garden. On the opposite westward façade, now become the current access to the villa, there is a rectangular garden surrounded by stone walls and characterized by a large oval vegetable patch with red stone fountain in the centre; four statues, two made of terracotta and two of sandstone, dated back to the 17th century, are placed in front of a hydrangea flowers border. A grass slope leads to the superior garden placed in front of the southward façade; this one is divided in two parts: the first one has a geometrical labyrinth made of box hedges with several white and purple azalea plants, the second one is a small wood composed by ancient local flora such as holm oak, cypress, hornbeam and maple trees, bay laurel, holly and butcher’s broom bushes.


Villa Nardi - Massa Pisana (LU) - 55100 - ITALY         info@villanardi.com