The fascinating, medieval city walls that surround Lucca, Italy, are welcoming its first full-service luxury hotel when the Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection, opens in the heart of its historic old town on December 1st. Standing stylishly and overlooking Piazza del Giglio and Piazza Napoleone, the former 16th century palazzo will debut a masterfully renovated design, fueled by an arts and music-focused concept that is beautifully evocative of the city’s past and present.

Grand Universe Lucca will add 55 superbly furnished rooms 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 wall, continuing the site’s graceful evolution through the millenniums. The hotel’s interiors will masterfully blend timeless elegance and contemporary comforts, inviting guests to a journey through the eras. Colorful silk textiles drawn by earthy shades of grape red, pine green and Tuscan sun yellow, 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, with all of the comforts of a luxury hotel,” says Georges Midleje, Regional Managing Director for Shaner Properties in Italy. “Our unique location in the magical city of Lucca offers a unique perspective on Tuscany’s rich historic and culinary culture, as well an alternative for travelers with a newly developed affection for less-crowded cities with equally enriching experiences.”

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 meticulous restoration inspired by its storied, colorful past.

Posizione (Location)
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. North American travelers anticipating a return to Italy in 2021 can look forward to performances by Celine Dion, John Legend, and Ben Harper, among others, during next year’s Lucca Summer Festival.

 Alloggi (Accommodations)
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 dynamic culinary outlets, each positioned to become destinations in themselves, with names that justify the brand story and complement the guest journey:

  • SYMPHONY Lounge – Located at the ground hall, inviting guests to relax between outings. A piano player will enliven past eras with live performances.
  • LEGACY Restaurant – Set on the ground floor, cuisine will encapsulate the local traditions of Lucca, with redefined recipes and fine wines.
  • SOMMITÁ Rooftop Bar – The hotel’s highest point, offering a unique place to gaze and admire the city’s landmarks and monuments from above, while enjoying artfully made cocktails and bites. Cocktail names to be inspired by great personalities of Lucca, such as the Puccini, made with prosecco and fresh mandarin juice.
  • ETERNO Wine Cellar – Available for private events; wine-tasting sessions to be offered alongside the ancient remnants of an ancient wall.

Ricreazione (Recreation)
Grand Universe Lucca’s FORTE Gym will offer travelers an exclusive space for fitness activities, while a plethora of opportunities to stay active await beyond the lobby doors. Bicycling being a popular and most enjoyable way to explore the city, Grand Universe Lucca will offer branded cruiser bikes to guests, complimentary for the first 60 minutes. With a small rental fee for longer cycling sessions.

Destinazione (Destination)
Lucca embodies a vivid blend of history — a testimony to past times, kingdoms and dominions. The city lies in a green valley just northwest of Florence, at the foot of the Apuan Alps and less than half an hour from the coast of Versilia. It is one of the few places in the world embodying an extremely rich heritage from different historical eras, from antiquity to the Middle Ages, from the Renaissance to Enlightenment and then finally to contemporary times. 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.

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