Palazzo Pfanner

Gardens and Historic Building in Lucca

Palazzo Pfanner
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Sailko

Palazzo Pfanner, an exquisite Renaissance residence, graces the historic centre of Lucca, close to the city’s fortified walls and medieval treasures. Over the years, the villa has changed hands, beginning its construction in the second half of the 17th century under the commission of the Moriconi family, wealthy silk merchants. However, financial difficulties led to its swift sale to the Controni family in 1680. Eventually, the Pfanner family acquired the property, and it became known as Palazzo Pfanner.

Under the ownership of the Contorni family, the villa underwent expansion. The magnificent stone staircase leading to the central hall is thought to have been designed by the renowned architect Domenico Martinelli, recognized for his work abroad, especially in Vienna and Prague. The richly adorned rooms boast frescoes with perspective and quadraturist paintings.

During the early 18th century, Filippo Juvarra was entrusted with the transformation of the outdoor spaces into a splendid Italian Baroque garden. The garden features linear paths dividing the various areas into geometric shapes. Inside, an array of seasonal and centuries-old plants, trees, flowers, a lemon house, and a bamboo grove can be found. Among the lush greenery, visitors will discover a fountain and numerous statues inspired by Greek mythology.

Around the mid-19th century, the role of the building took a new turn when Austrian brewer Felix Pfanner established the Duchy of Lucca’s first brewery and one of the first in Italy. Gradually, he acquired the entire residence, utilizing the garden for meetings and tastings. Although the brewery closed in 1929, the Palazzo remained under the ownership of the Pfanner family. Some of the rooms now house a permanent exhibition of medical-surgical instruments once owned by Pietro Pfanner. From the garden, visitors can also relish a stunning view of the bell tower of the Basilica of San Frediano.

The striking beauty of Palazzo Pfanner and its enchanting garden have caught the attention of filmmakers, and it has served as a captivating backdrop in various films, including “Il Marchese del Grillo” (Mario Monicelli, 1981) and “Portrait of a Lady” (Jane Campion, 1996).

The Palazzo Pfanner appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Lucca!

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Visiting Palazzo Pfanner

Address: Palazzo Pfanner, Via degli Asili, Lucca, Province of Lucca, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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