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Monastero della Visitazione

In Vicopelago, about 4 kilometers away from the Walls of Lucca, there is a special place linked to the figure of Giacomo Puccini: il Monastero della Visitazione (Monastery of the Visitation).

In 1887 the nuns of the convent in San Nicolao street in the historic center purchased the Villa del Real Collegio di Lucca, turning it into a monastery named after their patron, St. Augustine.



ADDRESS: Via di Vicopelago e di Pozzuolo, 870 - 1032 Vicopelago






A large villa in late Renaissance style, with an adjoining church and vast cultivated lands, whose construction dates back to the 15th century for the will of two wealthy merchant families from Lucca, the Balbani and Bernardini families.

The convent remained active for more than a century and housed an embroidery school, a knitting workshop and later also a kindergarten. In the late 1890s it was abandoned by the order due to lack of vocations.

In recent years it has become, on summer evenings, the "theater" of an evocative opera performance, inspired by the characters and tragic story of Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica).

Puccini's famous 1917 opera is linked to Vicopelago monastery because here Iginia Puccini (1856-1922), the Maestro's sister, was an Augustinian nun under the name Sister Giulia Enrichetta. Puccini was very fond of her and visited her often, thanks to special permission from the curia, which allowed him to visit his "spiritual guide."

The monastic setting, the evocative atmosphere and the stories of Iginia probably inspired him in the writing of his masterpiece. According to some rumors passed down through the years, Puccini allegedly previewed the opera to his sister and other nuns, humming and playing the organ.

Iginia had a good musical culture, which she applied with fervor and delight to the liturgical needs of the monastery. Her brother often gave her gifts, especially parcels of music for organs and also a score of La fanciulla del West, autographed with dedication "To my little monk Iginia affectionately, Giacomo Torre del Lago January  23d 1911”. A harmonium from the "Tedeschi & Raffael / Milano" factory, given by Puccini to his sister on January 5th 1921, was brought to the monastery.