A fantastic winter
Yet the love of the locals for greenery has inspired over time the creation of unexpected, fantastic and unusual gardens in the walled city.
Even in winter, therefore, it’s great to go for a walk in the gardens of Lucca.
The winter blooming at Villa Bottini
The camellias, which arrived in Lucca many centuries ago, soon became a much appreciated flower of Lucca’s gardens in the historic center, but also in the surrounding hills. Tenacious and resistant, the blooms follow one another all year round and even in winter the autumn varieties of the large, elegant camellia flowers delight our winter walks. The most important collections grow in the botanical garden of Lucca, but, not far in the park of Villa Bottini it is possible to admire the flowering of some bushes next to hollies full of berries, exotic plants and a monumental plane tree that shades via del fosso with its foliage reflected in the windows of the north facade like a sort of an imaginary fantastic winter garden.
A hanging garden
There are 320 steps to reach the hanging garden of the Gunigi Tower. A small, but though a very precious green space inside the walled city with some holm oaks and their evergreen leaves.
The tower belonged to the Guinigis, a powerful merchant family of the early 15th century. Paolo was the lord of Lucca, but also the husband of Ilaria del Carretto, the "sleeping beauty" portrayed by Jacopo della Quercia for the funeral monument conserved inside the cathedral of Lucca. It is not a coincidence that holm oaks represent the symbol of the Tower of the Palace. In heraldry the holm oak is the noblest tree of the coat of arms, a symbol of strength, power, nobility, fierce and ancient dominion. Evergreen leaves allude to long life, perseverance and dignity, majesty and strength.
A garden appreciated in every season and every hour of the day, a park enclosing the city and opening up to a view on the surroundings. In the morning the city wall is the perfect place for locals to walk their dogs, in the afternoon for short walks after work and in the evening for jogging lovers to de-stress at the end of the day. At night, the large crowns of the trees, in this period without any leaves, offer a great panorama with their intertwining branches in the moonlight. Marvellous, even at night, the city wall is a place where you should better be careful on a full moon when it might be possible to meet Lucida Mansi’s ghost in her burning chariot.
The Apuan peaks covered with snow
The snow-capped Apuan Alps are a typical winter panorama in this area. A few kilometers from the city walls of Lucca, this imposing and noble mountain range stands out against the clear winter sky.
The forests, the chestnut woods and the snow-covered peaks are an experience worth an extra day for a trip starting from Lucca, also for a taste of the excellent cuisine of Garfagnana.