Maria Luisa

Taking a stroll in Lucca with Maria Luisa Borbone

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One of the best descriptions of Maria Luisa Borbone [Bourbon], who was the Infanta of Spain, Queen of Etruria, and reigning Duchess of Lucca, that I have ever read, was written by Mario Tobino (writer, poet, psychiatrist, born in Viareggio, province of Lucca, in 1910) and can be found in his collection of short stories entitled “Sulla spiaggia e al di là del molo”. I don’t know whether it’s the best description because, if my memory doesn’t fail me, most written accounts usually depict Maria Luisa’s more conservative aspects: her excessive religiousness, her absolutism, reactionism, and devotion to church and family. Nonetheless, she brought to fruition many of the ideas and projects of her predecessor, Elisa Bonaparte, with an enlightened spirit despite the fact that she was more of a reviver/restorer. No mean feat. Some of her accomplishments: schools...

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Top 5 Spring Individual Tours in Lucca and Pisa

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With spring comes a new season of guided tours. As we wait to unveil our new itineraries, here are our top 5 spring tours; there’s something for everyone! Lucca by Bike Our number one tour is a visit of Lucca by bike; a classic. Riding around in spring, with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair, especially up on the Renaissance Walls, is a delight! In fact, with our bikes, we ride along the entire ring of the Walls under the plane, horse chestnut, lime, and oak trees and then swing down to the Amphitheater Square and other monumental squares in town. Just like the people of Lucca: they use their bikes to ride on the Walls or through the town’s narrow streets because, inside the walls, the center is a huge restricted traffic zone,...

Garden with actors

Princess Elisa Bonaparte, the Scents of Flowers and Life on Television

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What would Elisa Bonaparte, Princess of Lucca, Massa, and Piombino and younger sister of Napoleon, have said if she had known that they would be talking about her on TV in Lucca after two centuries? And why? Because of military campaigns? Economic and social reforms in the wake of the French Revolution? No, ladies and gentlemen. It is in regard to a much more light-hearted reason, might I say “fragrant”. This powerful, modern, and revolutionary young woman, among other things, introduced new varieties of plants and flowers to Lucca and Tuscany. On February 21, a conference in regard to this subject was held in the rooms where Elisa’s court theatre used to be in Palazzo Ducale in Lucca. The event was filmed by a Tuscan network, Channel 50, and sponsored by the Filippo Mazzei Cultural Circle of Pisa. The...