Villa Orlando
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Villa Orlando was built in 1869 as a hunting lodge by a fabric dealer from nearby Livorno Pietro Kotzian. The design was by the Florentine architect Patchò.

The project was inspired by the then fashionable new-gothic style, maybe because of the Alsatian origin of the Kotzian family. This German connection is responsible, for example, for the choice of slate for the roof, while other elements of the building are of roman or neoclassical origin.

Salvatore Orlando acquired the Villa from the heirs of Pietro Kotzian in 1896 and in the following years carried out a series of alterations.

To him we owe the new dining room with its new-Renaissance boiserie and the ceiling with frescoes by Guglielmo Micheli depicting grotesques and some reproductions of famous battleships from the family shipyard in Leghorn.

Salvatore extended the garden to the road and designed the main access alley, lined with plane trees, palm trees and roses, which remains much the same today.
The boat house was built with white stone from the Vecchiano quarry, near Pisa. It has a small tower and the access to the lake is through a pointed arch. Over the boat house there is a large belvedere roof-deck.

Salvatore also built a huge complex made of the same white Vecchiano stone, designed to provide access to the road. It was a porter’s lodge at the entrance of the estate with a round layout crenellated tower only a few meters lower than the one of the Villa, connected with a perimeter wall (it self crenellated) to two smaller side towers. A stone bridge over the moat led to the tree flanked alley through a cross vaulted hall.

Between the 8th September 1943 (the armistice) and the 8th October 1944 (the day the German army withdrew North towards Massa), Villa Orlando was seized to serve as headquarters of the German Command for the Lake Massaciuccoli seadrome. An antiaircraft gun was mounted on the top of the tower.

Before the retreat the Germans put some explosive charges in the towers of the complex with the intent of demolishing them. While the Villa suffered just a few damages, the entrance was razed to the ground. In the following years the moat obstructed by rubble was filled in.

Villa Orlando retains its role as private residence of the Orlando Family; in the Library at the first floor there is the Historical Archive of the Family. Nevertheless the Villa is home to high profile cultural events such as chamber music concerts, conferences, art exhibitions and book presentations. Especially significant is the long term cooperation with the Puccini Opera Festival. Among the many productions, is a memorable edition of Benjamin Brittens’s The Turn of the Screw directed by Virginio Puecher.

Villa Orlando has been the set for several films in the past, notably two about Puccini’s life. Carmine Gallone, Dino Risi, Ricky Tognazzi, Fred Astaire, Oliver Reed, Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren are among the many actors and Directors who worked there.

Villa Orlando Viale Puccini 252 - 55048 Torre del Lago (LU) - ITALIA
Tel: +39 0584 341886 - cell. 347 1112711 -

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