Villa Grabau

Region: Toscana

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Nestled among the hills, just 7 km from the city of Lucca, the historic complex of Villa Grabau offers travellers a glimpse of an unchanged era, from the moment they enter the inviting driveway.

The Villa, entirely furnished with period pieces and paintings, is surrounded by a 9-hectare botanical park, divided into various architectural gardens and rich in centuries-old trees and a number of rare species of trees.

Strolling through the garden, visitors will discover the ‘Limonaia’ lemon house, an impressive and majestic greenhouse dating back to the 1600s, and the ‘Teatrino di Verzura’, a verdant space resembling a miniature natural theatre, set in a garden with boxwood hedges that create an intimate and romantic atmosphere.

It is possible to organise lunches and receptions in this very evocative setting of great architectural charm, surrounded by the ‘Ficus pumila’ climbing fig that cascades abundantly from the majestic beams of the ceiling, creating a unique and incomparable atmosphere. Civil ceremonies can also be held in the graceful and harmoniously proportioned Teatro di Verzura.

This secluded corner of the Park is particularly appreciated by talented florists, who succeed in creating romantic scenic designs with their floral decorations that give the appearance of a true 'temple' of harmonious natural beauty.

Strategically situated with respect to Lucca, there are three ‘residenze di charme’ discreetly positioned within the Park: ‘Casa di Annadora, ‘Casa di Orazio and ‘Stalletta’, which are available for weekly rentals or to host family and friends for a few days of relaxation after your reception organised in the park and in its various structures.



Built on an already existing building dated 1412, Villa Grabau belonged from the very beginning of the 16th century to the powerful Diodati family, merchants from Lucca whose coat of arms, carved in grey Matraia stone, can still be seen today on the northern façade of the Villa. Under the Diodati family, the Villa took on Renaissance forms, which are still visible in the three-arched loggia on the ground floor. However, it was only with the successive owners that it took on the neo-Classical appearance it still retains today.

Between the mid-1600s and the mid-1800s, the Villa changed ownership, passing first to the Orsetti Counts and then to the Cittadella Marquises, before being purchased in 1868 by German banker Rodolfo Schwartze, husband of Carolina Grabau. It was indeed thanks to Carolina's passion and to her continuous exchanges with the Botanical Garden of Lucca that the Park was enriched with the many botanical rarities that are still present today.

Carolina's sister, Costanza, had married Baron Wilhelm Hüffer, a wealthy businessman who lived with her between Rome, Paris and Lucca, where they had purchased the neighbouring Villa Diodati. Carolina's brother, Carlo Luigi, known as Lodovico, lived in the family Villa in Palmata: a refined and cultured man, he was a respected painter and a friend of many ‘Macchiaioli’ artists, a famous group of painters active in Tuscany in the second half of the 19th century.

Their father, Carlo Grabau, a wealthy banker and ship owner originally from Hamburg, had moved to Livorno in the early 1800s to pursue his business interests and held the role of Consul General of the Hanseatic Cities of the North Sea for the Grand Duke of Tuscany. In Italy he met and married Enrichetta Inghirami, from an ancient aristocratic family of Volterra. The Schwartze couple did not have any children and the Villa was inherited by Carolina's nephew, Marcello Grabau, who was married to Francesca Cenami Spada from the important patrician family of Lucca.



The Villa and the Park can be visited all year round; the Limonaia and the Villa, as well as the gardens, can be rented for weddings, ceremonies and private events.

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Pets allowed
disabled access
External use
Internal use
Garden use
Numbers of beds:25
Event salons:6
Numbers of seats for events:300