The medieval city walls that surround Lucca, Italy, will welcome its first full-service luxury hotel in the summer of 2020 when the Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection, opens on June 1st. Overlooking Piazza del Giglio and Piazza Napoleone, the former 16th century palazzo will feature a renovated design, fueled by an arts and music-focused concept that showcases the city’s past and present.
Grand Universe Lucca, partially owned by Shaner Italia and operated by Shaner Ciocco, will add 55 geustrooms and suites, an elegant fine dining restaurant, a lounge area with a classical piano anchoring the space, a rooftop bar with stunning city views, and a unique wine tasting cellar set among the remnants of an ancient fountain, continuing the site’s graceful evolution through the millenniums. The hotel’s interiors feature colorful silk textiles drawn by earthy shades of grape red, pine green and Tuscan sun yellow, which reflect the city’s famous silk production heritage, while delicate wall tapestries will pay homage to the region’s vineyard patterns.
“Grand Universe Lucca will be a historical beacon blending different eras of history, from antiquity until today,” says Georges Midleje, general manager in press materials. “From the existing building wall foundations dating back to Roman times, to the ancient glassblower’s fountain remnants in the cellar, Grand Universe Lucca is a destination truly unique to the city. We look forward to writing new history for today’s curious traveler and generations to come.”
La Storia (History)
Recent findings show that the actual foundation of the hotel dates back to the roman period, circa 200 BC. A majestic palazzo of the Paoli family during the Renaissance in the mid 18th century, the site was turned into a monumental hotel—Hotel Universo e Tosca, opened in 1857—that became a destination for artists, poets, philosophers and royalty from around the world. Opera composer Giacomo Puccini was said to be a frequent guest in between performances at Teatro del Giglio. The property closed in 2015 and has since undergone a restoration.
Grand Universe Lucca is located in the heart of Lucca, standing in front of the Teatro del Giglio and adjacent to Piazza Napoleone, a cultural gathering place for artists and some of the biggest names in music. Each July, the Lucca Summer Festival is hosted here, with the likes of Elton John, Green Day, Bob Dylan, and Imagine Dragons, lighting up the piazza. In 2020, Celine Dion will headline the festival, giving guests of Grand Universe Lucca front row seats.
Fifty-five elegantly decorated guest rooms and suites will reflect a unique blend of timeless elegance and contemporary sophistication, with earthy colors, wooden surfaces and golden details, combined with lush silk and velvet textiles. Delicate suspended pendant lights made of glass pay homage to the property’s glassblowing history. Music being one of the hotel’s inherent pillars, the name of each room type—from the Adagio room to the Maestro suite—will reflect this culture.
Cibo e Bevande (Food & Beverage)
The hotel will offer several culinary venues with names that justify the brand story and complement the guest journey:
- SYMPHONY Lounge – Located at the ground hall, invites guests to relax between outings. A piano player will enliven past eras with live performances.
- LEGACY Restaurant – Set on the first floor, cuisine will encapsulate the local traditions of Lucca, with redefined recipes and fine wines.
- SOMMITA Rooftop Bar – The hotel’s highest point, offers a unique place to gaze and admire the city’s landmarks and monuments from above, while enjoying artfully made cocktails and bites.
- ETERNO Wine Cellar – Wine-tasting sessions will be offered alongside the ancient remnants of the fountain.
Lucca lies in a green valley just northwest of Florence, at the foot of the Apuan Alps and is less than half an hour from the coast of Versilia. Today it is known for the well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling its historic city center. Broad, tree-lined pathways along the tops of these massive 16th- and 17th-century ramparts are popular for strolling and cycling. Named “the City of 100 Churches,” Lucca has many uniquely preserved churches of great historic importance, including its landmark, the Duomo San Martino. The city boasts a unique wine and olive oil road named “Strada del Vino e dell,” which forms part of its cultural heritage.