The Villa Reale in Marlia, with early medieval origins, was the residence
of noble families and great art patrons who made it a true masterpiece
of landscape over the centuries. At the beginning of the nineteenth century
Princess Elisa Baciocchi, Napoleon's sister, extended the magnificent
She modernized the old Clock House and built the Twin Buildings which act as entrance, according to contemporary taste, but she left the splendid seventeenth century gardens virtually intact, with the most ancient Green Theatre of Europe (carved out of the vegetation) or the Lemon Garden (with more than 200 citrus pots). She also added the Camellia Walkway, particularly valuable for the rare varieties dating back to the nineteenth century. After the fall of Napoleon, other royal familes owned the property till the count and countess Pecci-Blunt, who bought it in 1924, just in time to stop the destruction of the park. They commissioned the famous French architect, Jacques Greber, to restore the park. They had him replant the grounds, creating the Spanish Garden, the Liberty style Swimming pool, various streams and a lake, that still today complement harmoniously and romantically the series of classic Italian gardens from the times of Orsetti.
The past guests of particular importance at the Villa Reale included the violinist Paganini, numerous members of European royal families and the American painter John Singer Sargent, who did watercolours of the gardens.
In 2015, a young couple, having fallen hopelessly in love with the now neglected complex, bought the property and accepted the challenge of bringing the Villa Reale di Marlia back to its former glory by commissioning important and enormous restoration work on both the buildings and the gardens: since 2019 it is indeed possible also visit the Empire-style interiors of the Villa Reale and since 2021 the eclectic museum of Pecci Blunt's collections (at Clockhouse).