The villa and garden are an extraordinary example of eighteenth century Tuscan taste and culture. Here there is a wonderful Butterfly-House where many colorful tropical butterlies fly from march to november. The Garzonis were a powerful family from Pescia, of Ghibelline stock, who had suffered the confi scation of their property, banishment and exile. They fled to Lucca where they rose to the highest State offi ces. The age-old taste for provocation and defi ance led them to build a villa here on the ancient boundary between the Grand Duchy and the Republic of Lucca.
First evidence of the villa dates back to Marquess Romano in 1633 and Alessandro Garzoni, who was probably also the fi rst architect of the garden, already set out in its present form in 1652. The imposing work took 170 years to complete. The final layout and the miraculous Summer House are due to the talent and whim of Ottavino Diodati.
The garden, which opens like a theatre with water games and star-shaped fountains, immediately aroused the envy of Princes and Kings.
Not only can it compete with the great Italian gardens (Villa d'Este, Boboli and the Royal Park of Caserta), but also European ones such as Versailles, Fontainebleau, Saint-Cloud, Potsdam, Wichelmhohe and Schonbrunn in Vienna. It expresses the same great post-Renaissance ideals, the rigorous geometric structures softened by plants, epic and fantastic statues, masks and fountains.
The villa, known as ''of the hundred windows'', is of legendary beauty. The bedroom where Napoleon is supposed to have stayed is on the first floor, as is the great kitchen where Collodi, the nephew/grandson of the Garzoni's bailiff, spent many moments of his childhood.