Itineraries through history and nature: The Nottolini’s aqueduct in Lucca

Acquedotto Nottolini

I am not the first to deal with this topic and I can not help do it enthusiastically. First because I’m a tour guide, and then because this side of Tuscany never stops to amaze me. Few places I know can boast such a relaxing therapeutic effects as the narrow path that leads you straight from the walls of Lucca to the Pisan mountains, along the aqueduct arches of Lucca. The Nottolini’s aqueduct.

This inspired classic architecture, the result of the first hydraulic engineering of the 19th century, literally brings the visitor in another dimension of space and time. A leap in the green nature and in the past. Just behind Lucca Train Station, a superb neoclassical circular architecture (il tempietto) hits your inquiring eyes. A narrow dirt patch shortly leads you in the country, a mix of plantation, cultivated land, farmhouses and cottages remained intact for centuries. You can still see animals grazing in the fields, some aspen groves and even some relics of mulberry trees, remembering the days when Lucca excelled in the production of silk. Even if you are not thirsty, the fountains under the wide arches, constantly invite you to enjoy the fresh water that flows from the bubbling springs of Guamo on the Pisan mountains.

Along the way, you will meet nature lovers of all ages. Some people are strolling with the dog, some with their own thoughts, some jogging, and some chatting with their partner. Any excuses are right to enjoy the pleasure of this path.

Keep walking along the arches of the acqueduct and 3 miles later you will find the deviation for the sources of Guamo called “Parole d’Oro” (the Golden Words). This name is due to the inscription written in gold letters engraved on the stone bridge on the stream that flows from the nearby springs.

There is no young couple of Lucca that I have not tried once (I mean in the last two centuries) the irresistible “call of nature” of this sublime and enchanting landscape. I am sure that the growth of population since the 19th Century until today, it is certainly attributable to this place and therefore to our architect Lorenzo Nottolini! The royal architect Nottolini was able to combine here, with great skill and respect, the ingenious work of man with the harmony of nature. There are no words to describe how beautifully this man was able to shape the grace of the landscape. The neoclassical intricate water collection system and drainage canals, alternated at various levels of ledges of lawns with cypress trees that form the backdrop to the lush woods, leave me breathless all the times. Hidden places that every romantic painter would dream.

The itinerary is on foot or by bicycle. It is a great pleasure for us, as tour guides to lead through this amazing little spot of Tuscany, also because, unfortunately, the signage is lacking. If then you will be “in good company” we will only give you few good indications of which way to go!

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