This is the home of our dear friends Henk and Daniela Blom. There are many such old houses in Lucca, dotted about the hills and facing the ancient city from a stunning vantage point. It's a 17th villa, for the most part, though bits of the house might be even older. This little grotto welcomes you as you arrive in the courtyard, which is a level below the house and main garden.
The garden was originally created by garden designer Francesca Marzotto but the very talented Daniela Sprea Blom has lent the scene her romantic touch, such as this delightful conversation corner under an antique magnolia grandiflora tree, here in bloom
Most of these old villas have what is called a limonaia, a pavilion where potted lemon trees are stored in winter. They always face south and feature these tall windows with shutters, or glass, that open and close as needed—it's enough in this climate that the lemons get sunlight in the coldest months, no heating is required.
The classic gardens in front of lemon houses are where the potted lemons stand in the milder months. An architectural note: an appendage was added to the rear façade of the villa in the 20th century to create a balcony and bathrooms for bedrooms on the upper levels.
These gardens are usually very simple in style, but Francesca Marzotto has added hemerocallis (day lilies, not yet in flower) for summer color and interest.
History is everywhere here, in every old basin, here filled with Nelumbo nucifera—it's the garden's foundation.
This handsome and original fountain fills the rear garden. There are jets of water that play their splashing sounds as you dine nearby on a summer's evening.
This is the scene of Daniela's lunch the other day. Total beauty and pleasure!