Stemma della Villa Grabau

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Family Coat of Arms

The Villa stands at the foot of the Colline Lucchesi and it is situated approximately seven km north from Lucca, under the Pizzorne hills. It was built on the ruins of a medieval village and of a fortress, near the Romanesque Church "Pieve di San Pancrazio", of which, during archaeological researches, were found various ruins.

Probably built on a already existent building dated 1412, it belonged from the very beginning of the XVI century to the very powerful merchant Diodati family of Lucca. During recent researches it was discovered that in 1550 it was in Gothic Style, with mullioned windows on the first floor and a dovecot embattled tower.

It is very likely that, at the end of the XVI century, it assumed a Renaissance style, which is still visible in the open gallery with three arcades held by columns in Tuscanic order and by "peducci", also Tuscanic, which now hold the vault of one of the drawing-rooms on the ground floor.

The Diodati's coat of arms, in grey stone of Matraia, still hangs on the northern façade of the Villa. It is interesting to note that a large part of the Diodati family, like many other Calvinist Lucchesian families at the time, such as the Turrettinis, Burlamacchis, and the Calandrinis, agreed to the Reformation and were forced to flee their country because of religious persecution.

The majority of the families settled in Calvinist Geneva, where they are still today, and where there is still a villa of the Diodati family.In 1653 Villa Grabau became the property of the Gualanduccis, and then in 1670 was bought by the Counts Orsetti and later, in 1806, was inherited by the Countess Chiara Orsetti married to the Marquis Ferrante Cittadella; it then passed to their nephew Enrico Cittadella in 1854.

The Villa assumed, with the final alterations done by the Cittadella family, a neo-classical style, just as it had happened to the nearby Villa Reale of Marlia, after the intervention of Elisa Baciocchi, Napoleon's sister.

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