Camelietum Compitense, Cultivation of Camellia, Camellia Hamlet

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Culturally speaking, Pieve and S. Andrea di Compito can be regarded as the “Borgo delle Camelie” (“Hamlet of Camellias”), a special place that during the “Antiche Camelie della Lucchesia exhibition” weekends offers wondrous sights and mesmerizing walks through the alleys and among ancient houses decorated with vegetable gardens and ancient camellias. The latter first arrived in Italy, from China, at the end of the XVIII century, immediately loved and favoured especially as ornamental plants.
Camellia japonica immediately sparked the enthusiasm of collectors and hybridizers, especially in Tuscany, where cultivars of great beauty were soon created – they became extremely famous also in other parts of Italy and abroad.
Often planted in the most beautiful villas in Lucca, they triggered a real “cameliomania”, which reached its peak in the mid-XIX century.

These plants, now monumentally huge, represent a priceless heritage both for their beauty and for the rarity of the cultivars (about a hundred), still present in the Tuscan territory and in particular in Lucchesia. In order to preserve and promote this precious botanical heritage, “Camelietum Compitense” was born in Pieve di Compito, on the road to Monte Serra; this facility features more than 500 different specimens of camellias, including the ancient cultivars typical of XIX-century gardens and parks in Tuscany and all over the country.

Under the ancient church of the village of Sant’Andrea di Compito, framed by a thick hedge of centuries-old camellias, there is also the cultivation of Camellia sinensis, used for producing tea from its leaves. Guido Cattolica was the first to experiment with such a different use of those wondrous flowers and now his tea is highly appreciated worldwide

Borgo delle Camelie comes alive during March weekends thanks to the Exhibition of the Ancient Camellias of the Lucchesia, and visits to several beautiful villas decorated with camellias, like Villa Borrini in Sant’Andrea di Compito, Villa Giovannetti, Villa Orsi, and Villa Di Vecchio, in Pieve.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Via Fonda 1 - 55062 Capannori(LU)

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