I was immediately captivated by the charm of Lucca, a small town in the Tuscany region of Italy when I visited many years ago. It was 2005 to be exact. We were only in town for one day but Mr. B and I vowed to go back. It’s a town that’s typically overlooked by most tourists but is definitely worth a visit – even if for only one day. What makes Lucca unique is that the historic center of town is encircled by huge medieval stone walls that were originally built for defense purposes. Although the massive stone walls remain, they now serve as open space for residents and visitors to enjoy. The top of the wall has been developed into a tree-lined, gravel pathway that provides for the most charming stroll. From the top of the wall you have a view of the historic town on one side and a view of the expansive greenbelt that was once a moat on the other. This is what most tourists to Lucca experience when they visit.
However, once you leave the old city walls you’ll find several stately homes including the 60-acre estate known as Villa Massei that was once owned by American artist and author Paul Gervais and Gil Cohen. They spent 34 years restoring the 16th century estate with Mr. Garvais even authoring the book A Garden in Lucca about developing the Italian Renaissance style gardens at Villa Massei. Gervais and Cohen sold the property in 2015 and on Tuesday, February 27, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago will be offering Italian furnishings, art, and decorative objects from Villa Massei that Gervais and Cohen had collected over the many years they spent in Italy, including many of the items shown in the photos below. To learn more about Villa Massei and the upcoming auction, click here. Happy bidding!