The Secret Gardens of Lucca

A Film by Gernot Stadler and Björn Kölz

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Documentation, 52 min, 2019
GS-Film, ORF/3sat
Written and directed by
Björn Kölz und Gernot Stadler
Gernot Stadler
Production Management
Monika Orsini-Rosenberg
ORF Enterprise
The two filmmakers Björn Kölz and Gernot Stadler have chosen the villas Torrigiani, Reale, Mansi and Oliva for their cinematic journey to the most beautiful country estates with their centuries-old gardens in the outskirts of Lucca. Amidst lush and extensive gardens, they still bear witness to the wealth and social standing of their builders. Particular attention is paid to the so-called “Giardini segreti”, the secret gardens, which, with their fountains and grottoes, represent the crowning glory of Baroque garden culture.

In Lucca, the filmmakers visit not only the garden of Palazzo Pfanner, which once housed Italy’s first beer garden, but also a modern silk weaving mill, as it was silk that once made Lucca´s merchants and villa owners rich. Today, the tradition of silk weaving is revived in small manufactories. A visit to the birthplace of the famous composer Giaccomo Puccini is also a must. After all, Puccini was also a welcome guest in many villas in the outskirts of Lucca.

The cinematic journey continues to the small town of Pietrasanta, where sculptors from all over the world still create their works from the white marble of Carrara – just like Michelangelo. The gigantic quarries of Carrara in the Apuan Alps can already be seen from the coast. From here comes the raw material for the many imposing statues, which also adorn the gardens of the villas of Lucca.