Giacomo Puccini's operas and music are universally known.
From Lucca, where he was born and trained, his music has spread all over the world. Today Giacomo Puccini attracts to his city fans from all over the world, interested in his life and fascinated by his music.
One of the most represented composers in the world was born in Lucca on 22 December 1858. Descendant of a family of composers who, over the course of about two centuries, have represented the musical tradition of Lucca.
After his studies in Milan and his beginnings as a composer, Puccini returned to his native land, while his operas were successful in the major Italian and foreign theatres. He lives in Lucca, then in Versilia, and never leaves his ancestors' house where he occasionally returns to compose and rebuild.
And what better company could we have than Puccini himself, with whom, from his ancestors' house to his maturity residence, we can get to know villages and towns, and also the beautiful natural scenery of the Apuan Alps and the coast of Versilia for a weekend and a long stay.
In the small mountain village of cells of Pescaglia (today Celle Puccini), at number 51 of via dei Meletoli, opens the main door of the elegant 16th century building. The ancestors' house is a beautiful stone house, among chestnut woods and cool streams where the young Giacomo used to go with his parents and sisters for summer stays and to which he always remained tied. Today it houses the Casa Puccini museum in Celle Puccini and this is the only thing that has changed since then.
Even before he finished his studies, Giacomo Puccini attended the nearby Bagni di Lucca to play the piano in a small dance orchestra at the Teatro Accademico, the Casino and the Ducci di Ponte in Serraglio. After more than a decade, Puccini returned several times in the summer to Bagni di Lucca as a vacationer, like every wealthy Lucchese of his generation, at the Grand Hotel delle Terme where he composed the second act of La fanciulla del West.
In Lucca, there are many places linked to the Maestro's life. Inside the sixteenth century walls, the birthplace of Corte San Lorenzo, not far from Piazza San Michele.
The basilica of Santi Giovanni and Reparta where he was baptized; the cathedral of San Martino where the Puccini family were organists for generations; the Boccherini musical institute to which I leave many of his documents; the church of San Paolino where he made his debut at the end of his studies at the conservatory "G. Pacini" with a composition that he would mention several times in his later works and the church of San Pietro Somaldi where, while still a student, he performed on the organ which, once famous, he had restored at his own expense and finally the Teatro del Giglio where he personally staged many of his operas.
And finally, the Versilia, where he moved in the years of maturity, attracted by those lights and atmospheres that so impressed many of the artists of the time. At first a house on the hills of Chiatri, surrounded by olive trees, then passionate about hunting, as well as boats and cars, he found inspiration for music on the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli, in the villa on the lake, that "dear bozzo" that was the inspiration for many operas and leisure time scene spent hunting and in the company of friends, finally in the Villa of Viareggio where, on the fashionable promenade of the beautiful bathing establishments of the Clubs, Cafes and Theaters in Art Nouveau style, went to settle, together with him, many artists.
(foto: N. Ughi, U. Conti)