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MONTECARLO: lovely Tuscan village near Lucca

Montecarlo is a lovely treasure to discover on the hills around Lucca, a territory of top quality wine and extra virgin olive oil production.


Montecarlo, in the Province of Lucca, is an unspoiled territory which preserves a strong link between man and nature and the Tuscan countryside, connected with the production of top quality wine, Montecarlo D.O.C. and extra virgin olive oil.

The historic centre is set on a hilltop overlooking a 360° panorama of Tuscan vineyards, olive groves and green woods. The historic town of Montecarlo is well preserved and still surrounded by the fascinating medieval city walls. The village stands on an isolated hill. Particular importance is given to the historical activities of the Academy Theatre (Teatro dell'Accademia dei Rassicurati) of opera, concerts, plays, demonstrations and various performances.

The origins of the hill town date back from the 11th century when it was only a Manor House belonged to a noble family and its employees. During an attack by Florence the people got safe inside the Fortress, named Rocca del Cerruglio. The village than started to develop around this Fortress, which is still standing until our days, imposing over the surrounding hills. The name Montecarlo comes from “Carlo” (Charles) of Bohemia, the future Emperor Charles IV who has protected the territory and started the construction of the village, the city walls and has also incremented the rock. So is was Carlo's hill – Mons Caroli.

During Modern times this Fortress has got much importance for Lucca during battles against Florence, till when Lucca passed completely under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, in the 16th century. The military forces have abandoned the Fortress only in 1775. From then, the city has always belonged to the Florentine State till the unification of Italy in 1861.

More to see in Montecarlo:

1) The main church is dedicated to St.Andrew, built in the 14th century, and completely restored in the 18th century. Inside the church there are many pieces of sacred art of local and Florentine artists;

2) The Theater “Teatro dei Rassicurati” as mentioned, of relevance in the music and drama work, with its important seasons of opera, concerts, plays and many performances. The Theatre itself dates back to the 18th century and is related with the birth of an Academy, and became particularly famous the following century because of Giacomo Puccini, who came often to Montecarlo to visit his sister;

3) A walk all around the village will allow to see parts of the city walls which still stand up almost intact, with its 4 city doors: Porta Fiorentina, Porta Nuova, Porta a Lucca and Porta a Pescia (the names derive from the direction to where each door faces). In Porta Fiorentina is set the “Torre del Belvedere”, a tower from medieval origins which offers the best panorama of the area. Take the change to walk around the villages alleys and stop ate one of the various cafes or wine bars.

In the surroundings of this charming town, its is possible to visit among other attractions, some wineries of the famous D.O.C. Montecarlo. In particular, it's suggested by the local tourism association, there is a historic farm: Fattoria del Teso, where its possible to visit the original wooden barrels and the Villa from the 18th century. In this winery it is possible to visit the wine cellars with traditional oak barrels and also the Vin Santo cellars where the grape is hanged up from the ceiling (called “cannicci”) to get dry and after is fermented and aged in small barrels called “caratelli”) made of hazel tree or other kind of wood. Fattoria del Teso: Address: Via Poltroniera, E-mail: . Open to public vists from Monday to Friday from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm. Booking: Tel. 0039 0583286288.

Talking about wine, do not to miss the local festivals taken place usually in May and September: “Viavinaria”, a wine festival included in the Cantine Aperte movement, with the possibility of visiting many wine cellars and tasting different kinds of wine for free. “Montecarlo in Festa” in honor of the “Madonna del Soccorso” (Our Lady of the Aid). An exciting enogastronomic festival with stands of food and wine, street shows, wine tasting under the stars street markets and much more.

This event takes place the 2 weeks, last of August and first of September. Besides, in Montecarlo you will find top quality restaurants, “locande” and wine bars that offers delicious typical specialties matched perfectly with the high quality Montecarlo D.O.C. wine.

Tour Info point: Pro Loco Montecarlo Via Carmignani, 4 Tel.: 0039 0583228881.

Text by Adriana Lucchesi Oct 2010.


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