Chapter #1

Teresa Pamphili and Villa la Rinchiostra: from woods to gardens

Villa RinchiostraPhoto by: Matteo Dunchi
Rinchiostra, Balcone sulle Apuane
Rinchiostra, Museo Gigi GuadagnucciPhoto by: Matteo Dunchi
Villa Rinchiostra, Facciata est
Villa Rinchiostra e il parco

Betwixt conversation of your sober poplars,
and the silence of the cypresses, or villa,
still solemn on the horizon ruling
with calm grave majesty.

A Lucca-born poet, Cosimo Giorgieri Contri, moves into the 1900s in the detached enchantment of the ancient ducal villa of Massa, which belonged to the Cybo Malaspina family.
Rinchiostra: island enclosed in the heart of the vibrant urban fabric, in the evening you elicit memories and from your lofty terrace of candid Apuan marble you open your gaze over the majestic Alps. Not too distant, the sea wafts a brackish breeze.
And in the feeble light of the last romantic crepuscularism the poet sings about October laziness and lost lines of roses that a certain Guido Gozzano would have loved so much.
A light step echoes once more in the centuries-old park, echoing secrets that recall a spring once spent and a woman’s face illuminated by a rising moon.
What happened in the villa, three hundreds years ago, to that girl so much in love? Why did her thoughtful iris gaze shut down? Where are the reckless duke and Princess Teresa now, that young Roman bride? Do noblefolk still come from Lucca or Fiorenza to rest among the lilies and cypress trees still happily at home at La Rinchiostra?

Chapter #2

Gigi Guadagnucci, grace and power in the soul of forms

Guadagnucci Rosa 1984Photo by: Matteo Dunchi
Guadagnucci Fiori sdraiati_MagnoliaPhoto by: Matteo Dunchi
Guadagnucci PenséePhoto by: Matteo Dunchi
Gigi G. Serie di piccole sculture
Gigi G. Serie di sculture anni '70 Photo by: Matteo Dunchi

Today, as a treasure chest, the seventeenth-century villa, positioned on the marine plane of Massa, contains in its underground crypt and among its striking ancient pillars marble carved with infinite expertise by "GIGI", the distinguished sculptor in the Apuan Alps, in France and around the world.
More than forty works, donated to his birthplace, relate the master artist’s entire career.
The unexpected white sculptures take visitors by surprise and the wealth of varied forms are made with a levity that plays with feelings and captures emotions in their interesting relationship with the light.

Chapter #3

Another garden between the mountains and the sea: Botanic Garden

Orto Botanico delle Alpi ApuanePhoto by: Andrea Ribolini
Globularia delle ApuanePhoto by: Antonio Bartelletti
Orto Botanico Sentiero di accessoPhoto by: R. Puccini
Centaurea montis borlaePhoto by: Melania Marchi
Veduta di Massa, Il Castello e la costa

The mountains were in front of us, obscured by the clouds, but majestic.
    John Ruskin

Those millennia-old peaks that hold the shining stone, much loved by Gigi, in shades of green and "immense sapphire" graze in a place where one experiences in a second the union between the sea and the mountains: the Orto Botanico “Pellegrini-Ansaldi”, a lookout point over the northernmost Tyrrhenian Sea and the blue grey summits of the Apuan Alps, dusted white, even in the summer.
For a few kilometres just take the winding street that clambers up fresh, wooded slopes, through silent villages, until the vistas open up over the town of Massa, lying at the foot of the striking Malaspina Castle, with its secret Garden of Time and, beyond, over the blue line of the coastal arch, which embraces Versilia and the Gulf of the Poets as far as glimpsing the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago on the clearest of days.
Expert guides and nature lovers wait to lead you along the loop around the makeshift refuge, amid the multicoloured varying blossoming of rare endemic plants, which peep out along trails surrounded by greenery and broken rocks.
Breath in the scent, mixed with that balmy sea, never too far away not to be able to enjoy it whenever you want to.

Photo by: Matteo Dunchi