The buildings of Villa Reale Marlia (Lucca, Italy) ~ Villa del Descovo


Admittedly, writing about this experience and this romantically, beautiful place is one of the most excruciating things I have endured.. (the posts about the gardens of Villa Reale Marlia and Casa Clara were just as difficult) Between deciding which photos do it justice and what words give proper emotional conveyance, my perfectionism was thrown into over~drive. I will likely stare at these previous two sentences for the next hour weighing their relevance.  This is one of those moments when I wish I had photographic experience and understood a poet’s world of words.  I really need to gain such an arsenal of creativity…and soon!

However, one thing I’ve learned about the scenery and nuances of Italy is that no word or pictures can ever truly convey the enchantment and serene impression placed on the mind and heart.  You’ll have to do your best to wrap your mind in its glory via the provided pictures, I guess.  But my hope is that you’ll experience it for yourself one day, if you haven’t already.

I had planned to do one post on all the buildings on the property, however after sorting through photos, I realized not only how daunting it would be to chose a handful of photos to share, but just how huge this post would be if I included all the great shots.  I really want you to get a feel for these fabulous buildings.  So, I’ve decided to start off this tour at the VIlla “del Descovo” (of the bishop) which dates back to the 1500’s.  It was the first of the larger structures that we happened upon during our visit.

This building and the surrounding grounds and gardens you will see here, were once the summer residence of the Lucca bishops.  Eliza Bonaparte Bachocchi,, sister of Napolean Bonaparte who made her ruler of Lucca and later Tuscany, purchased the villa and grounds and combined it with the nearby Orsetti Villa..

I believe, as you stroll through this property with me, you’ll note a sense of peace that it provides, as well as,  a curiosity that pushes you to know more about the what lies behind each window and door.  Even the sprawling vines cannot conceal the spirit of this structure; they, in fact prove and improve its essence and vitality.




This worn gable end unveils the means by which it was constructed, while the meandering greenery accentuates the arrangement of its elements.


Besides having a door, archway, columns and brick and stone façade addictions, I also adore what effect windows can have.  Italy’s throw~ open~ the~ sash type of windows really get my heart pattering (affect).  When describing what happens when windows are added to wall, is one of those rare times when using either affect or effect can’t be wrong.


Palladian windows, topped by a grapevine, graced above by silled windows trimmed in moldings and ending with cherry~on the top line of smaller windows; I’m in architectural style heaven.  Oh, mustn’t forget the wide overhang.  Can we put icing over the cherries on top??




Although this looks like an outdoor space,   hubby took this photo of the interior through the doors you see in the previous photo.


The gardens you see surrounding the building in the next couple of photos, as well as the building itself, are nearly as they would have been when the monks resided here.   When Elisa Bachiocchi purchased the properties, she modernized the Orsetti Villa using the Neo-classical style and an English style influenced her changes to the upper garden.  However this building remains as is, with the garden maintaining its original Baroque style.  I often wonder what this building was used for while she resided on the property.  (or actually, any of the property owners thereafter)


The way the vegetation grew upon this old stone structure added to it’s ethereal and timeless beauty.  But doesn’t the building seem to convey itself as a series of flower boxes taunting any ward seed to nestle in?


Just as this plant has found its home upon this villa, I could easily and most happily thrive within it.  Could you?






Although this portion of the property remains as originally designed, Elisa added a lake and woods behind and below the villa.  This area was said to be populated by roe-deer, goats and merino sheep.  She, as well as future residents, also added garden areas that would bridge the two properties and other existing gardens together.


Another special thing about this villa once inhabited by the monk, was it’s interior courtyard.


Everything about the rustic, texture filled and architecturally interesting courtyard. was jaw-droppingly magnificent.  I believe no descriptions are needed as you take in the next few photos.  Ogle at your own pace.











Fountain of youth in the foreground?  Well, I know I felt like a giddy teen while I was here snapping photos!















I think this is one of my favorite photos.  There is so much to love about this building within this small snapshot of it.  And doesn’t it just make you want to peer beyond all the corners and doorways?



These look like wall mounted fountains of some type. Not sure they were from this courtyard, but perhaps they were within this building at some time.  That is one thing we noticed about Italy, much of the architectural elements, although no longer intact, were often left on the premises.



















I believe these ferns were thoughtfully placed to keep visitors from meandering into what may be an unsafe area.  However, they were also pictorially perfectly placed and I must admit, given a second chance, I might have not been so docile as to heed their original intent.


Here’s a little bonus:  The chapel that sat just a stroll away from the Bishop’s Villa.





I have a passion for many old things. (Hubby seems to think that’s why he is still around ~ He’ll just look better to me the older he gets)  One of them happens to be bells.


Even today, a couple years after this experience, I’m still flabbergasted by the fact that I stepped foot into this historic, alluring and enchanting place.  Do you think the monks, Elisa and all the owners in-between knew just how blessed they were to walk amongst these walls?  And, do you think everyone finds the frayed, faded and worn look of structures like this defectless?  Do you?  I cannot deny the soft spot this place has in my heart!

Watch for the second in the series of the buildings of the VIlla Reale Marlia. when I’ll share the Palazzina dell’Orologio   (clock house).   It is just beyond these steps that foliage artfully protects and imbues the secrecy of the façade I’ll soon share.  Winking smile.


Until next time…

              DeeDee Lynn ~* Widgets

5 thoughts on “The buildings of Villa Reale Marlia (Lucca, Italy) ~ Villa del Descovo

  1. I live in Italy, and yesterday I’ve visited Villa Reale. Even if I go quite often, the magic never stops, it grows, if possible. It’s been sold by a Swiss couple, who will open a extra luxury hotel. I hope I’ll find the way to visit the interiors before they restore it. Anyway I’ll go back there as soon as possible, and take pictures of every corner! Thanks for writing about it!

    1. Most definitely, Tera!! We could not have never stayed long enough. Hunger was the only thing that drove us out of the park. I truly hope to go back some day. Even with the hundreds of photos we took that day, I feel like we missed out on a lot of wonderful opportunities for more.

    1. Me too!!! That’s why I had to do a whole board on Pinterest dedicated to this addiction! And the more worn and weathered, the more character and appeal they have. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Alison. Always good to hear from you!

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