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Lucca, Italy

Description

This magnificent and historically significant property, located in a secluded and completely private position that is just minutes from Lucca’s Centro Storico, is composed of 4 buildings_ the main villa, a limonaia that has been completely renovated and restored as a home, a large outbuilding and a gatekeeper’s house. There is also a magnificent 43x4mt pool, a large greenhouse adjacent the limonaia and a gazebo in the park. The main villa, built at the crest of a hill in the late XVIII century, was owned and inhabited from 1822 to 1826 by Paolina Bonaparte, Napoleon's favorite sister, famous for her love life and for the life-sized sculpture of her as Venus Victrix by Antonio Canova (now in Rome’s Galleria Borghese.) The horseshoe-shaped villa’s main entrance faces south and the façade is decorated with eight marble statues of deities and a marble and terracotta balustrade topped with elegant terracotta urns. An ancient bas-relief lunette of a procession bringing offerings to a goddess graces the tympanum over main door, while there are quartz and lava mosaics along the staircase. An imperial eagle, motif repeated on each of the villa’s large gateposts, is the crowning element. The villa can also be accessed through two smaller entrances, one on the western façade and one on the east. The villa measures approximately 1500 sq.mt. and has a large main salon decorated with gilded frescos in Empire-style motifs. A large library that was formerly Paolina’s bedroom opens off it to the west while there is another salon and a dining room to the east. Most rooms on the “piano nobile" have double exposures and the whole area is accessed from beautiful double staircases, one on the north façade and one on the south. The eastern and western wings have smaller entertainment areas, bedrooms and bathrooms. Easily divisible into two residences, the villa already has two separate furnaces, 2 kitchens, 7 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. The villa, very close to Lucca’s Centro Storico yet very private, is accessed through a large and magnificent iron gate with gateposts that bear the name “Villa Paolina.” A long, winding driveway leads up to the villa and its stunning park of approximately 9 hectares. The parkland was landscaped in the mid 1800’s in the Romantic style with curving paths, grassy fields and wooded areas that open to reveal unexpected vistas onto the Apuan Alps and the city of Lucca itself. A former owner was a passionate botanist and added rarities such as gingko biloba trees and sequoias to the villa’s ancient oaks and cedars. There is a spectacular camellia tree grove, one of the oldest in Lucca, and both the villa and the limonaia have formal Italian gardens. On top of the almost Olympic length pool, the villa has several fountains of varying sizes and an enormous cistern. A large wrought iron gazebo with mosaic floors was built as a belvedere on the highest point of the property and the outbuilding that formerly housed the kitchens, staff’s quarters, stalls and stables could be restored and converted into living areas. Villa Paolina is truly unique in that it offers complete privacy in a beautiful setting that is just minutes away from Lucca’s Centro Storico. It is an ideal property for anyone seeking a peaceful, quiet and luxurious home life in a location that also offers easy access to Lucca’s attractions.

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Italy Sotheby's International Realty
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