I always followed the principle that the most important thing in life is emotion. I do this through storytelling sometimes. Today I visited Villa Reale which is located in Marlia, in the Province of Lucca, west of Florence, in the Tuscany region of Italy.
Villa Reale was the former home of Elisa Bonaparte thanks to her brother Napoleon. She reigned here just under ten years.
Elisa Bonaparte Princess Of Her Emotions
Maria Anna Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi Levoy was an imperial French princess and sister of Napoleon Bonaparte. She was Princess of Lucca and Piombino, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Countess of Compignano by appointment of her brother.
Why do I love her story so much? Elisa followed the principle of connecting with her emotions. This was not what women in those times ever did. They never rebelled nor ever disobeyed men in power.
As Princess of Lucca and Piombino, then Grand Duchess of Tuscany, she became Napoleon’s only sister to possess political power. Their relations were sometimes strained due to her sharp tongue. She was highly interested in the arts, particularly the theatre, she encouraged them in the territories over which she ruled.
No images are allowed to be taken inside the Villa. It means you have to come and personally explore it yourself. It keeps it mystical.
Villa Reale Marlia
The Villa Marlia or Villa Reale di Marlia is a late-renaissance palazzo or villa. The estate’s property includes the most pristine gardens in Tuscany.
The restoration of Villa Reale is still going. Dotted with numerous works of art, including Tofanelli’s impressive Dance Of the Hours.
I noticed artists working on the walls to restore the artwork. The patience, skill and the painstakingly thousands of hours to complete this is mind-blowing to fathom.
The Carrara marble furniture and marble bath are stunning. The rare opulence and gold trimmings is something that Elisa would have adored. Marble is throughout the Villa and its brilliant white pristine decor is a beautiful ambience to take in.
Villas In Tuscany
If you seeking to explore, rent or buy a Villa in Tuscany have a read of my top Villa buying tips.
Elisa bedroom with the bed and its imperial design is gorgeous.
When it comes to intricate wallpaper, or papier peint panoramique this is one of the best restored examples of this. I am very passionate about wallpaper like this.
The walls in Elisa’s bedroom are decorated with this unusual wallpaper. The 11 scenes designed by Joseph Dufour, depict Cupid falling in love with Psyche. A total of 1245 wooden hand-made stamps are 23 colours were used to print the panels.
This was one of the examples of money spent on emotion. No wonder Napoleon Bonaparte went crazy at his sister for not gifting money he specifically commanded her to give to political officials.
That is why she was ousted by these political influences after the fall, as she begged to remain here. Her emotional commitment to arts and crafts was noble of her and her legacy was left to Lucca.
Emotional Garden Exploration
Walking through the 17th-century water theatre and the gardens with roses, makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland and that enchanted forest.
I was in lock-down in an 80sqm flat for almost three months. I am finally healing and that is thanks to garden experiences like this. For an entry price of 12 euros, it is money worth spent.
There is so much to explore regarding every tree and flower grown here. As I stroll and smell, touch and explore this estate. I truly appreciate the love and devotion that Villa Reale has to offer.
I am understanding why Elisa begged to stay here after the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Ridley Scott Producing Film For Napoleon Bonaparte. My scouting tip on why they should film here.
The lemon garden has an amazing array of lemon trees. It is so beautiful and what an inspiration for textile brands to print on fabrics. Table cloths and a pencil skirt come to mind.
During this pandemic, there is no other place to be and appreciate gardens like the ones here at Villa Reale. It’s amazing to be able to walk countless miles of grounds, taking in the Italian outdoors. Children Need Outdoor Space
My daughter adores this place. There is so much to learn and experience here for children. Dipping her feet into the lake and water fountains.
She loves climbing the logs and smelling the flowers.
She adores running on the grass for hours. As a mum who is concerned more about our children’s mental health more so than ever, I choose to live the life of outdoor freedom.
There have been many films on Napoleon Bonaparte but next year. They will be working on a script for the Napoleon epic. The film will be produced by Scott and Kevin Walsh.
Ridley Scott will team with Joaquin Phoenix for Kitbag.
The film’s title is derived from the saying
“There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag.
The film is an original and personal look at Napoleon’s origins and his swift, ruthless climb to the emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine.
The intention of the film is to capture Napoleon’s famous battles, relentless ambition and astounding strategic mind as an extraordinary military leader and war visionary.
San Miniato Filippo Bonaparte
If you have visited Villa Reale you will also have known that it was the villa where Elisa Bonaparte met the master Niccolò Paganini. Between the two there was an intense romantic relationship. The maestro was called to Lucca for 6 or 7 years to direct the theatre. Furthermore, the Bonaparte family had its origin in Tuscany, in fact, it was a wealthy Florentine Ghibelline family exiled in the 12th century. The Bonaparte family moved to the town of San Miniato (nowadays in the province of Pisa). There he remained until 1568 before a branch of the family emigrated to Corsica. The family never interrupted relations with Tuscany in fact Napoleon’s uncle (Filippo Buonaparte), who was a priest in San Miniato in charge of making the family license of nobility with which Napoleon’s father could not only enrol his son in the military school of Brienne but also to participate in the newborn Corsican nobility just born with the annexation to France (1768). General Napoleon who came to Tuscany with the army (2 July 1796) stayed in the palace of his uncle Filippo Buonaparte. The Buonaparte palace still exists in San Miniato Is a classical reinasssnce building.
Also in San Miniato, it is possible to find the XIV villa of the Gucci family. Even the Gucci, like the Bonapartes, came from the town of San Miniato. How bizarre is the story !?