Villa Orlando was built in 1869 as a hunting lodge on the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli, near Viareggio and still retains the charm of the time when painters and musicians, most notably, Giacomo Puccini, made Torre del Lago their retreat.
The building, in neo-Gothic style, has a quadrangular plan; in the South-West corner stands the imposing crenelated tower. From the top of it you command a spectacular view over the lake and the surrounding landscape, while in the distance you can see Pisa’s leaning tower and Cathedral, and further away many villages in the Tuscan countryside such as Cascina and Volterra. On the North facade, an imposing staircase guarded by two stone lions leads to the main entrance surmounted by an intricate wrought iron hunting trophy.
From the main entrance, through the great hall, you enter the East facing Sitting Room, whose ceiling was frescoed by Francesco Fanelli with a flight of mallards. A large terrace, decorated with two sphinxes, opens onto the lake. On the West side is the Dining Room with neo-Renaissance wood panelling; the vaulted ceiling frescoed by Guglielmo Micheli, features grotesques and medallions depicting Cruisers and Battleships built in the 19th Century in the Orlando Shipyard. All the interior design, the floor, the furnishings and the paintings are original.
The park of about ten acres, includes plane trees, pines, cypresses and centuries-old holm oaks as well as roses, palm trees and the lawn along the private lakefront with the boathouse. This is a white stone building with a crenelated tower reminiscent of that of the villa. The boats moored under the vault access the lake through a pointed arch. The large belvedere terrace above offers a spectacular view of the lake and the marble quarry Apuan Alps.
Villa Orlando, its century old park and the lake lay within the Migliarino San Rossore and Massaciuccoli Natural Park, a vast protected natural area that offers sanctuary to a large number of species of plants and animals.
Particularly rich is the bird population: among others, the green and the red woodpecker, the marsh harrier, the hoopoe, the wood pigeon and among the water birds, the mallard, the grey heron, the red heron and the egret.