Villa Massei

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Villa Massei in Massa Macinaia, south of Lucca, is an XVII century building that belonged to Count Senibaldi; it is also an example of those very country residences embedded with local agriculture and well cared for from the architectural point of view. That kind of noble abodes is thickly spread over the hills around Lucca and has significantly changed the landscape.

After several changes of ownership, the villa has been a property of the Cohen and Gervais couple. since1981. They were responsible for the restoration of the portico in the upstream façade, which had previously been walled up to increase the internal space; the same couple alto took care of a painstaking architectural and botanical composition of the garden.


The building is located halfway up, and due to the sloping ground, was built with three floors in the downstream part and two in the upstream one. In the upstream façade, there is a five-arched portico, an important architectural element in many noble abodes around Lucca, which somehow manages to connect the building and the garden.


Since 1982, the garden has been developed by the two American owners from Boston, Cohen and Gervais. The garden structure develops on a series of terraces that descend on the sides of the driveway, accommodating the sloping stretch of land. A nymphaeum and some canals are what’s left of a peculiar and elaborate water system used for agriculture.
The owners are now experimenting with new plants and different forms of cultivation.
On the north side of the villa, there is a green arch made with Muelenbeckia complexa. Around the door, there are two vases with Buxus hallendii with falling foliage.
Space is enriched with variegated vegetation as in a real botanical facility.

The rose garden is home to old roses, such as the fragrant “Cuisse de Nynphe Emule” and the red “Cardinal de Richelieu”, alternated with modern roses produced by the nurseryman David Austin.

On the south side, there’s the space dedicated to the Italian garden: it was built six years ago by Paul Gervais with sixteen boxwood flowerbeds and several Caryopteris x clandonesis “Heavenly Blue”. Past the garden, there is an avenue of thirty-six cherry trees (Prunus avium) “Rennes du Marchè” which ends in a natural lawn with spontaneous blooms.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Via della Chiesa 53 - Lucca(LU)

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