Historic villa in Pistoia: the Tuscan landscape where Puccini composed La Bohème

The historic villa in Pistoia, in the heart of the hills of Tuscany, certified by the Ministry as the only object in the world where Master Giacomo Puccini wrote La Bohème.

This villa for sale in Pistoia is a private historic home in the heart of the Tuscan countryside.

A few kilometers from the important Tuscan art cities of Lucca, Pisa, Florence and Pistoia, the villa stands on the of a small town in the Valdinievole, located between the provinces of Pistoia and Lucca, just 5 km from Montecatini Terme.

It was right here, in this villa in Pistoia, that Maestro Giacomo Puccini composed Act II and III of La Bohème, in the summer of 1895.

Villa for sale in the Tuscan countryside

The historic villa in Pistoia sees Dreamer Real Estate as the only real estate brokerage firm authorized to promote this property.

Situated in a panoramic position in Tuscany, it features, in addition to the main villa, outbuildings to be renovated and 20 hectares of land that includes olive trees and vineyards.

The villa’s more than 400-year history is documented by the First Deed of 1650. It has been owned by influential local families, and renovations in the 1850s allowed the complex to be preserved over time.

A rich historical and architectural heritage, an authentic villa, a true masterpiece in central Tuscany, is now for sale

A brief history of the villa in Pistoia

The villa in Pistoia belonged to three noble families, the first of which came from Languedoc, an ancient province of France.

Built as a manor house in the first half of the 17th century, it underwent its last expansion and renovation work around 1850.

Owned by the Toldi family until 1750 and owned by the Orsi family until 1926, it was then purchased by another prominent Tuscan family, who made it a private residence.

In 2013, the villa was visited by Prof. Vittorio Sgarbi, an admirer of Italian historical and artistic treasures, who appreciated the state of preservation of such a precious building.

It is listed with the Soprintendenza per i Beni Ambientali ed Architettonici for the provinces of Florence and Pistoia (1913) and recognized as being of considerable artistic and historical interest; it is a member of the Associazione Dimore Storiche Italiane.

A special feature of the villa is that it was rented in the summer of 1895, by Maestro Giacomo Puccini, who composed Act II and III of La Bohème here.

Villa in the Tuscan Hills where Puccini composed La Bohème

Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca in 1858 in a family of musicians and from an early age demonstrated his musical talent.

In the spring of 1895 the Maestro, who was already internationally famous, was looking for a quiet place to carry on the writing of his new work. He thus found the villa in the Tuscan Hills.

Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca in 1858 in a family of musicians and from an early age demonstrated his musical talent.

In the spring of 1895 the Maestro, who was already internationally famous, was looking for a quiet place to carry on the writing of his new work. He thus found the villa in the Tuscan Hills.

Historic private home for sale in Pistoia: a family tale

Dreamer Real Estate met with the owner of this magnificent historic villa in Pistoia, told in an exclusive interview.

Dreamer Real Estate: «A manor property in the Tuscan countryside. What is the history of the villa and when was it built?»

Guido A.: «The villa, as a manor house, stands on the ruins of an ancient medieval watchtower, the Tobbiano tower. Together with the watchtower, they kept access to the Pescia Valley under control and communicated with the Castle of Uzzano and the Fortress of Monte Carlo.

 The noble Toldi family, around 1650, enlarged the fortress and transformed it into a manor house. In the early 1700s, the property passed to the Counts Orsi Bertolini, who had the inner chapel consecrated and in 1850 carried out major renovations.

In 1926 the villa was purchased by my grandfather, jurist Dionisio A. and passed by succession in 1950 to my father, Ambassador Enrico A.

In the last century, it was not only a family residence, but also a symbol of the Farm of the “Bianco della Valdinievole DOC”, which with about 40 farms and attached land produced oil, wine and other agricultural products».

DRE: « A private residence overlooking the Tuscan hills. It was here that Giacomo Puccini chose to retire to find inspiration and write one of his greatest operas».

GA: «In May 1895, Ricordi, Giacomo Puccini’s publisher, had contracted with the Teatro Regio in Turin to perform La Bohème there in February 1896. By May 1895, the opera was incomplete because Puccini, who was in Torre del Lago, was caught up in the distractions of life.

The publisher Ricordi, through Puccini’s sister Ramelde, who was living in Pescia, identified our villa as a retreat where the Maestro could compose. He arrived in June 1895 and stayed until the end of October, composing La Bohème».

DRE: «How did the Master spend his days?

GA: «Giacomo Puccini’s days were devoted to composition, using the 1848 forte piano, which is still present in the villa. Puccini loved composing in the evening, so it was not uncommon to see or hear him working after dinner, even until late in the day.

In his stay, after an initial period of adaptation, he found ways to practice his passions, taking advantage of the proximity of Montecatini Terme to have opportunities for dolce vita with other important people of the time and hunting in the nearby Fucecchio marsh».

DRE: «Are there any anecdotes or historical stories related to Puccini’s stay that you would like to share?»

GA: «Puccini’s stay at the villa is attested by the ministerial lien placed on it and the artifacts that the villa preserves. The summer of 1895 was particularly hot and Puccini, in the middle of the night after composing, liked to cool off. To do so, he used to soak in the small pool with goldfish present in the villa’s back garden.

Some peasants used to hear noises coming from the mansion and see a figure wrapped in a white towel wandering in the garden late at night, had spread the rumor that there was a ghost. In reality, it was only the Master, who at uncivilized hours, would come out of the bath and walk around wrapped in a white towel».

DRE: «The property was bound in 1913, one of the first in Tuscany, and still preserves Puccini’s 1848 “forte-piano” inside. Are there any other historical objects or documents related to him or other influential personalities of the past?»

GA: «Yes, in addition to the original forte-piano on which Puccini composed La Bohème, there is also the original inventory, such as crystal objects and other items that were delivered to him along with the villa. The inventory has Puccini’s original autograph signature and is still preserved here.

But there is more: all the documentation from 1700 onwards of the Conti Orsi Bertolini, management of the villa, estate plans and accounts. Then there is the personal archive of Dionisio A., concerning the birth of the discipline of international law, the creation of the League of Nations and many personal notes. Then there are my father’s archives of many of his diplomatic missions».

DRE: «What are the most significant architectural or artistic features of the villa? Are there spaces that have been preserved in their original state since Puccini’s visit?»

GA: «Certainly the main hall and the adjoining parlor on whose wall is Giacomo Puccini’s handwritten inscription attesting to the composition of La Bohème are spaces preserved in their original state. But there is more: not only the rooms, but on the second floor there is even a toilet still with the same furnishings and sanitary ware as then».

DRE: «How has the mansion been maintained and restored over the years?»

GA: «The villa has been steadily maintained over the years. The last significant work was done, under the direction of the Superintendence of Environmental and Architectural Heritage of Florence and Pistoia, in 1995. In that year, the roof was completely restored to new, with the laying of new chestnut beams, waterproofing with three layers of tar paper and insulation using cork panels. At the same time, a lightened casting with expanded polystyrene was laid on the floor of the attic, so that it could be walked on without risk of damage to the painted mezzanines on the ceilings of the second floor.

Subsequent painting of the facades was done in 2012, as well as repainting and protecting all shutters and windows.

In 2017, a conservative restoration and cataloging of all locks on doors, furniture, and any other items in the villa was done. Missing keys were recreated by an experienced craftsman based on the existing locks and put back into operation.

Annual maintenance is still done today, constantly».

Discover our prestigious historic villas for sale in the Florentine countryside, the Chianti hills and the wonderful Val d’Orcia.


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