Palazzo Tucci - residenza d'epoca

Image via Akseli Koskela
The amply-proportioned "Wally" room in
the Palazzo Tucci.
I stayed here with my girlfriend for 3 days in September. Choosing to stay in Lucca instead of Florence, Pisa or Sienna was something of a gamble because this was the first time that either of us had ever visited Tuscany so our decision was based on second-hand information: our Rough Guide to Italy, the Internet and the comments from members of staff from the school I was working at in Hertfordshire. But I after our trip I would certainly conclude that it was a gamble that paid off and staying at the opulent Palazzo Tucci was no small part of that gamble!

Image via Akseli Koskela
Waiting in the main hall of the Palazzo Tucci.

I would however like to make some points of clarification about the type of experience you may find in the Palazzo Tucci. Because not knowing what to expect was what gave us the most trepidation in deciding to choose to stay at this hotel.

Image via Akseli Koskela
The procession of the patron saint of Lucca begins
 outside the Basilica di San Frediano.


So what is the Palazzo Tucci? The Palazzo Tucci is what is called a “Residenza d’epoca” - which I think translates into English roughly as historic residence or building of historic significance. The building itself is nothing if not impressive, using myself as a reference standing at the doorway to our room, my girlfriend and I both agreed that the ceiling must be at least 6 metres high! Basically you are staying in a restored historic home of an Italian aristocratic family of the type you’d imagine from a Shakespeare play or Stendhal novel. The ceilings in the main hall are covered in beautiful frescoes and the ceiling in our room had a kind of rococo motif on it. The previous TripAdvisor reviewer who commented that it is like staying in a palace was in no way exaggerating.

Image via Akseli Koskela
A Violin-maker's craft at the medieval festival in Lucca.
But, I would also like to mention what the Palazzo Tucci is NOT. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will be staying at the Four Seasons Florence. The Palazzo Tucci is a “residenza d’epoca” not a five star hotel. This means that notwithstanding the magnificence of the actual building, the hotel service is not much more than what you should expect from a bed and breakfast. There is no 24-hour concierge for example, nor room service. In fact, the building isn’t even very clearly signposted outside - we got so lost looking for it that we had to ask at the Tourist Office! Also it can be quite noisy inside, the hallways and large rooms echo and the windows aren’t double-glazed so a lot of street noise comes into your room - including from a nearby restaurant where people dine late into the night. The TV in the room that we shared looked at least 10-years-old and the screen was probably no bigger than an A4 sheet of paper.

Image via Akseli Koskela
Calling towards my sweetheart at the
"Juliet"-style balcony of the Palazzo Tucci.
But bearing all of the above in mind, I would nevertheless recommend that you do stay at the Palazzo Tucci. Above all it is an outstanding experience, with a great atmosphere in a beautiful and authentic Italian city. The hotel has free wi-fi for example, shaming the many establishments that still charge for an internet connection, and making the question of the old TV a bit redundant (I just wish I knew the websites of Italian TV channels). Breakfast, included in the price, was great, ostensibly a continental breakfast, but being English we asked the lady serving us for scrambled eggs and she was happy to make some for us, plus the fruit and bread and cheeses were really delicious. I still wake up dreaming of the orange juice made from blood oranges that I had with my breakfasts there!
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7 comments:

roxy said...

As always, your photographs are great. The historic residence you stayed in looks lovely, and I saw a nice feature on the Travel channel highlighting Lucca. My son plays the violin, and I think there is something so fascinating about the whole process of creating such a wonderful instrument. Thanks for giving my brain something new to imagine. Tuscany dreaming.

Akseli Koskela said...

Thanks Roxy. Yes, I'm also fascinated by violins - an incredible instrument!

JJ said...

"The Palazzo Tucci is a “residenza d’epoca” not a five star hotel. This means that notwithstanding the magnificence of the actual building, the hotel service is not much more than what you should expect from a bed and breakfast."

Perfect!!

Judie said...

Wonderful post, Akseli! Your pictures are great. Several years ago there was a violin makers conference in Tucson, and one of the rooms was dedicated to the art, and had working makers. The room is very dark, but at each work station was a small desk lamp. The darkness around them emables the makers to see any imperfections in the smoothing technique of the wood. It was fascinating.

Akseli Koskela said...

Thanks Judie.

And JJ, I thought you'd like this sort of place!

Francis Hunt said...

I wouldn't worry too much about not making a deeper acquaintance with Italian TV. I lived there in the eighties for two years and it was dire; recent extensive contact with an Italian family who live here in Germany showed me that it hasn't appreciably improved since then.

Not surprising really, given that most of it belongs to Silvio Berlusconi!

Akseli Koskela said...

Haha! Well said.