A bit of history on the Palace
The Moriconi family began to build the Palazzo in 1660. They were members of the nobility of the town of Lucca and rich silk merchants. The family got into a sudden financial crisis however, and was forced to sell the building in 1680. The palace was taken over by the Controni family, and they decided to renovate and enlarge the entire building. The palace remained property of the Controni family up until the 19th century, but they were forced to rent part of the rooms as they got into economic difficulties too.
The Pfanner family got to know the palace toward the middle of the 19th century as Felix Pfanner, a brewer from Hörbranz, got into contact with the Controni family. Felix decided to rent the garden and the cellars of the Palace so he could start brewing and selling beer in the town of Lucca. During that time many “Lucchesi” and visitors passed by the palace to sit down and taste a glass of Pfanner ale in between the lemon trees. You can still see some traces of the brewery as the ice-houses, the basins in masonry and the old workshops still remain.
Being the first beer manufacturer in Lucca, and one of the first in Italy, business went so well that he was able to buy the entire palace. The brewery closed down in 1929.
The Palazzo is still in property of the Pfanner family. They opened the palace up to the public for everyone to enjoy.
Should I visit Palazzo Pfanner during my visit to Lucca?
You can either go inside the museum, or admire the palace and its gardens from the city walls of Lucca. There have been some negative comments on the Palace saying that a visit to the inside of it is not worth it – others on the other hand seem to love it. I personally advise you to at least admire the Palazzo Pfanner from the walls of Lucca since you can perfectly view the garden from there. In my opinion it is 100% worth it to at least view the gardens. There are some benches on the wall where you can sit and enjoy the views. It’s free, and from there on you can decide whether you want to have a look inside or not.
The garden of the Palazzo Pfanner
The scenographic italian-style baroque garden lays between the city walls of Lucca and the city of Lucca. Filippo Juvarra designed the garden at the beginning of the 18th century. The garden is decorated with greek and roman gods statues that are surrounded by plants of various kinds. While walking through the gardens you’ll be able to enjoy the delicious scent of the lemon flowers that flood the garden. The garden is sometimes used for public and private events such as Lucca comics or private weddings.
The garden offers a triumph of different colours and shapes with the changing of the season. Besides the famous lemon trees the garden is also home to roses, geraniums, antique camellias, begonias, peonies and bushes of hydrangeas, box and laurel hedges, and many other plants and trees. A true joy to the eye!
The perfect location for a movie set
The grand staircase of the palace became famous in Italy thanks to the film “Il Marchese del Grillo” by Monicelli and Alberto Sordi. A lot of italians visit the palace especially thanks to this movie. The movie “Portrait of a Lady” with Nicole Kidman also includes scenes with the Palazzo Pfanner settings.
The Palazzo is still today property of the Pfanner family who lives here and who over the years has brought out the best of this building as a resource through opening it to the public and organizing events.
Important information before visiting
How to get to Palazzo Pfanner?
The address of Palazzo Pfanner is Via degli Asili, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy, if you click the link a new tab with Google Maps will open that will lead you directly to the entrance of the palace.
I personally advise you to first enjoy the views of the garden from the walls of Lucca. You can get on top of the walls near one of the different city gates. The closest one to Palazzo Pfanner is the Saint Maria Gate. Once on top walk towards the west and look toward the inside of the city – you won’t miss the gardens, I promise 🙂
You can enjoy the garden from on top of the wall if you are physically disabled.
Full price visit to the garden: € 4.50
Full price visit to the residence: € 4.50
Full price visit to the garden and residence: € 6.50
Price view to the garden from the wall: free 🙂
Palazzo Pfanner is open from April until November. The opening hours are 10:00 until 18:00 daily.