Giacomo Puccini and Torre del Lago

“Torre del Lago, supreme delight, paradise, eden empyrean, turris eburnea, spiritual vas, royal palace…. inhabitants 120, 12 houses…”

A deep love that lasted thirty years linked Giacomo Puccini to the charming village of Torre del Lago, which has since been renamed to honor him as “Torre del Lago Puccini”, much to the pride of all its inhabitants.

Puccini was born on December 22nd, 1858 in Lucca, in the house on Via di Poggio. He was the last of a family of musicians that spanned four generations, originally from Celle.

When Puccini came to Torre del Lago at the end of the 19th century, it was to find a picturesque and quiet place where his creative genius could flourish. The lake and the small village, whose houses were mirrored in the grey-blue waters of the Massaciuccoli River, located less than two kilometers from the sandy beaches of Versilia, immediately appealed to him, and the welcome from the people of Torre del Lago was enthusiastic.

Upon his arrival, the young composer was even greeted by a welcoming committee at the small railway station, and the numerous artists, mostly painters, with whom he later founded the Club della Bohème, gathered around him, happy to count him among them as an already famous personality. These were years of an extraordinary artistic fervor that involved the whole region, Florence, Livorno, but also Lucca were in contact with Paris and the European capitals, ideas and people circulated voraciously, painters and musicians met in homes and cafes.

But then, to return to the roots of their inspiration, light, the purest sounds, they went where nature still offered strong sensations. ‘Sun-drenched beaches, cool pine forests, the always calm lake, in other words, Eden’: Puccini had two great passions, music and hunting, and for him Lake Massaciuccoli represented the ideal place to cultivate both.


He arrived in 1891, at the age of thirty-three, and decided to settle there by first renting rooms, and then having a villa built which he moved into in 1900. The successes of Manon Lescaut (1893) and La Bohème (1896) followed, and with these came the money to buy the house of his life, an ancient watchtower (the origin of the name Torre del Lago) which he had completely renovated.

He also filled in a part of the lake shore, with the permission of the Marquis Ginori, who was the owner, to create a garden and a road in front of the house. Leaving the house, he found the landing stage, from which he set off for hunting trips, especially for teal and woodcock.

The house, which can be visited, still speaks of these things: the pianos used for composing music, the memories of the great performances, and the prizes for international triumphs. It also holds paintings of his friend the painter Ferruccio Pagni, who frequented the musician along with other artists such as Plinio Nomellini and the Tommasi brothers.

Puccini remained in Torre del Lago for thirty years and composed all of his major works there, including Tosca (1900), Madama Butterfly (1904), La Fanciulla del West (1910), La Rondine (1917) and Il Trittico (1918). In 1921 he moved to the new villa that he had built in Viareggio, but he stayed there for only three years until his death in 1924.

At the request of his son, the musician was buried in a chapel built in the old house on the lake. The lake also remembers the stories of the past: it can be explored by boat, departing in front of the Villa Puccini. The light is the same as before and so is the tranquility. Today the lake is part of the Regional Park of Migliarino-San Rossore Massaciuccoli, comprising 24 thousand hectares of beaches, pine forests and marshland that host a rich birdlife. This interweaving of the lake, Puccini and music is the result of the Puccini Festival, which has been held on the lakeshore since 1930, wanted by Puccini before he died and entirely dedicated to his works.