Torre del Lago, a small town between Lake Massaciuccoli and the sea, is famous as the place where Puccini had a villa and for the Puccini festival held in summer in the outdoor theater overlooking the lake. Puccini called this area by Lake Massaciuccoli paradise and it’s still a very peaceful place for a relaxing vacation or a short day trip from nearby Lucca, Viareggio, or Pisa.
Puccini, along with his wife and son, spent several summers by the lake. In 1899, he created a villa in Liberty style from an old watch tower and wrote many of his operas there. To honor the famous composer, the name Puccini was added to the town name of Torre del Lago.
Puccini Festival and Outdoor Theater
In July and August the outdoor theater by the lake hosts the Puccini Festival with performances of his operas. Concerts and ballet performances are held in the theater, too. It’s in a beautiful setting overlooking the lake, surrounded by a park and sculpture garden. Check the schedule and ticket prices or buy tickets on the Puccini Festival website ticket office or at the box office, currently open Monday through Friday (check hours on the site).
Torre del Lago Location
Torre del Lago is in the Versilia coast area of northern Tuscany, about 20 kilometers from both Lucca and Pisa and just four kilometers from the seaside resort town of Viareggio.
Marina di Torre del Lago, on the sea about a mile from town, has a seaside promenade, restaurants, beaches, and discos during summer. Lecciona beach is a top gay beach. Across the lake from Torre del Lago is the small town of Massaciuccoli with a wetlands area that’s great for bird watching as well as Roman ruins.
Where to Stay in Torre del Lago
Overlooking the lake, the 3-star Hotel Butterfly is in the pedestrian area and has a sun terrace, restaurant, and free parking. The inexpensive 1-star Hotel Giuly is in town near the road to the beach and has a restaurant and garden. There’s also a campground on the road between the lake and town and several B&B’s and vacation apartments.
Viareggio has many hotels and good bus service to Torre del Lago.
Getting to Torre del Lago Puccini
Torre del Lago is served by a few regional trains on the coastal rail line between Genoa and Viareggio and the rail line from Pisa. Faster trains arrive in Viareggio where you can catch bus line 2 or 3 to the town and lake. Pisa airport, 15 kilometers away, is the closest airport—see an Italy airports map. From the airport, take the People Mover to the Pisa train station, then a train to Torre del Lago. The train station is in the town, about one kilometer from the lake.
Villa Puccini Museum
Puccina’s villa, which retains its original appearance, was turned into a small museum in 1925 with manuscripts, objects of daily life, personal items, photos and paintings. You’ll also see his piano, period furniture, and the chapel with his tomb. The museum is open to visitors for 40 minute guided tours in the morning from 10 – 12:40, afternoon hours vary be season. It’s closed Mondays, Christmas Day, and most of November. English audio guides are available.
Boat Rides on Lake Massaciuccoli
During summer, boats offer lake excursions leaving from the Belvedere at Torre del Lago, usually from 3-6PM. Trips last about one hour and are a great way to see the lake and the wetlands. Sometimes the boats also operate on weekends during late spring and early fall.
Where to Eat
The Risorante Lombardi is a fine restaurant in downtown Torre del Lago. The restaurant was famous in the 1950s through the 80s for its game dishes, but now specializes in fish—and it does fish quite well.
The restaurant is very interesting inside. It used to be a public stable with attached inn, where folks going between Florence and Liguria spent the night. It’s not cheap but offers a good value. There is parking on the premises.
Via Aurelia 127
Torre del Lago Puccini
Tel: 0584 341044
Near Torre del Lago Puccini
- Oasi di Massaciuccoli, on the other side of the lake, is a protected nature area with boardwalks through the wetlands area, bird-watching blinds, and signs posted about the birds. In the town above are Roman ruins and a small museum with Roman finds.
- In the hills above the lake the Church of San Michele Arcangelo in Corsanico has an unusual early 17th century monumental organ in the loft that Puccini is said to have played. You can hear the organ at the summer music festival or Christmas music festival. The beautiful Romanesque Church of San Pantaleo is also worth a visit. It holds a well-known chamber music festival in summer. We visited the churches on a tour with Serena Giovannoni of Wish Versilia.
- Viareggio, the largest beach resort town in Tuscany, is known for its Liberty-style villas, beaches, and seaside promenade with cafes, shops, and seafood restaurants. It’s also known as one of the top places to celebrate Carvevale with its spectacular parades of huge allegorical floats.
- Pisa is known for the Leaning Tower but it has several other interesting sights and attractions, too. Torre del Lago can be visited as a day trip from Pisa.
- The walled city of Lucca can also be visited as a day trip (or the reverse) although it requires a change of trains in either Viareggio or Pisa unless you have a car. In Lucca is anotherPuccini Museum.
- Pietrasanta is a charming inland town to the north that’s a favorite of sculptors and artists. It’s on the train line past Viareggio.
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