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Just four kilometers outside of Lucca, the Villa Principessa sits like a jewel in a lovely, tranquil garden at the base of the surrounding hills.  Rich in history, the villa was once the home and court of Castruccio Castracani, Lord and Duke of Lucca in the 13th century.  Centuries later, it was also home to Elisa Bonaparte when she was Duchess of Lucca, and it is from this association that the Villa takes its name, Principessa.  This aristocratic villa has seen many changes over the course of seven centuries, but it has not lost its air of elegant nobility.  Resurrected from near ruin caused by decades of neglect, it was restored and converted into a hotel in the 1970’s.  The interior décor dates from that period and is in need of a makeover, but this does not diminish the comforts and the pleasures to be found at the Villa.


The new owner is a young woman with a vision and a commitment to bringing about the necessary changes.  She has begun updating and simplifying its décor, focusing her efforts on making Villa Principessa appear less like a hotel and more like the wonderfully private country house it once was, where, she hopes, guests will feel they have come home to friends in Lucca.  I certainly enjoyed driving up to its graceful ivy-covered façade, wandering the pleasant gardens, sitting by the pool, and dining al fresco.  Its relaxed and unhurried style is endearing.

August 2006

All images and reviews copyright 2015 by Ginda Simpson

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Hotel Villa La Principessa

Via Nuova per Pisa 1616/G, 55050 Massa Pisana, Lucca ~ Tuscany, Italy

Hotel Villa La Principessa ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson

This hotel is featured in my travel story: Lucca and the Puccini Festival