Near Ponte a Moriano,10 miles south of Bagni di Lucca, to the east, are the hills of "Colli Lucchesi".As you climb you can look down on the Lucca valley and the city itself .
This area is not just where the grapes and olives grow but also where, among others, the rich Lucchesi silk merchants " Set up House".
A really "good day" is to wander (by car) through the hills from Vineyard-to Villa-to Vineyard-to Villa- to Lunch-to Vineyard-to Villa and so on...
One can never guarantee, in Italy, that all is open not least the vineyards but, normally, you go round the back , ring a few bells, someone will come!
Vineyards like you to taste..and buy! Most quality Ovine is between 5 Euro and 10 Euro per bottle.
At the square in Ponte a Moriano, you turn east to S. Pancrazio, there you ,11 find:
Villa Oliva. Built in 1570 by Civitali, it has a superb 10 acre garden which can be seen 10-12 noon , 3-6 p.m. on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
Around the corner from the Villa Oliva, you come immediately upon:
Villa Grabau. This is an 1800 neo-classical Villa whose ground floor has some superb frescoes. The 20 acre "English" garden has a box-hedge theatre a very special Lemon house. Grabau is open 10-1 p.m. and 3-7p.m. on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
Keeping on the saure road, you come to Marlia, where you'll find:
Villa Reale".Reale, (or Royal) was built before 1500 but is now important beause of Napoleon's sister, Elisa Baciocchi, who ruled Lucca for some years (quite well actually). Elisa built the garden of Reale splendidly - say most people - which you can visit 10-11 a.m. and 3-6p.m. (on a guided tour) on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Fom Reale, you follow the road to Segromigno, where there is:
"Villa Mansi". This Villa was totally `restored'in ...1635! It has a well-frescoed ground floor (fully open) and a park-like garden with a Italianate pool (hung about with sculptures). It is usually open 10-12.30 and 3-7 every day, except Sunday and Monday.
Litterally just round the corner, no more than 1 Km from Mansi, is:
"Villa Torrigiani". This was built in 1500 and has a garden by Le Notte (who did Versailles). You can visit the house and the garden 10-12 and 3-7 p.m. every day but Tuesday. The family lives here.
There are other villas in the area nearby - e.g. the "Villa Brughera"- which are open from, time to time in the Summer and there is now a new `scheme' in place, whereby ali the villas can be visited on one ticket- usually in July.
Normal entrance is about 5 Euro for the villa and/or garden. Most bave bi-lingual guides or brochures available.