Vetriano’s Theatre

71 m2, 60 seats in the stalls and 20 on two tiers of balconies. These are the facts andfigures of this ancient barn on a   hillside in the province of Lucca, which was transformed into a theatre in the late 19th century. It appears in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s smallest.In Vetriano, there is a little jewel waiting to be discovered. Its history dates back to 1889, when engineer Virgilio Biagini gave a barn to the community to be turned into a theatre. The inhabitants, mostly farmworkers, warmly welcomed the donation, and set up a Società Paesana (local company) that taxed itself a one-off payment of 2 lire and then 50 cents per month to build the theatre and cover the labour costs. Thanks to the hard work of the local people, the theatre was constructed in just one year, and in 1890 the stage, framed by Neoclassical decorations, was used for the theatre’s first plays, which were mostly works in verse and musical comedies, often written and acted out by the inhabitants themselves who, to attend the performances, often had to bring their own chairs with them. The schedule was soon filled, and the little theatre became a dramatic hub for the entire area. Over the years, the Società Paesana ceased to be and the theatre was neglected to the extent that it could no longer be used. In 1997, the descendants of Virgilio Biagini donated their share of the theatre to FAI so that the Trust could take care of it. After a painstaking restoration process, the little theatre in Vetriano has been given a new lease of life and now provides the venue for brilliant comedies, shows and events with a maximum audience of 85. Today, we can once again admire the way it looked in the late 19th century, with its 5.5 x 5.5m2 stage and its beautiful painted curtain.  Underneath the theatre, there are two dressing rooms, a costume shop and a small costume storage.

Chestnut Museum

The Chestnut museum examines the importance of this humble fruit in local cooking and also for wood of the chestnut tree in and around Lucca.This museum was opened after several years of gathering tools and items relating to historical local peasant and farming culture. The museum focuses on evidence found of the use of chestnuts in the Colognora area in ancient times. Visitors can learn about the chestnut harvest, how chestnuts are dried and then transformed into a food product. There is also a wealth of information about the use of chestnut groves by local woodsmen.As well as visiting the museum, it’s also possible to take a tour through the village and local area to visit the ‘metato’, or place where the chestnuts were dried. There is also a charcoal pit and straw hut.

Puccini’s House 

The Puccini Museum in Celle di Pescaglia, owned by the Lucchesi Association in the world, is housed in the house where Jacopo Puccini (1712-1781) was born three centuries ago, initiator of the long dynasty of musicians he had in Giacomo Puccini (1858 -1924) the last and most famous exponent. In this beautiful sixteenth century house, during his childhood, the great composer spent his summer holidays with his parents but in 1864, the death of his father Michele, his mother Albina was forced to sell it to meet the economic needs of his large family . However, in 1973 this house returned to be “the house of Puccini”: thanks to the generosity of Ramelde’s daughters, Giacomo’s beloved sister, who donated many precious relics, and to the sensitivity of the Associazione Lucchesi Nel Mondo, who acquired the property, the ancient residence has thus become a museum that over the years has been enriched and improved until the last complete redevelopment occurred in 2008. The museum is very rich, and of considerable interest both for the simple enthusiast and for the scholar: the letters and the autographed musical manuscripts, the original photographs with dedication, as well as the numerous objects that belonged to Giacomo Puccini, guide the visitor through a long itinerary that traces both the private and the artistic life of the great musician. Particularly interesting are the sketches of his first two works, Le Villi, and Edgar, as well as the letters to his sister who confided his joys for successes but also his fears and his bitterness for the bad reception that public and critical reserved to the before Madame Buttefly, one of the most fascinating works that Puccini composed using a piano now kept in the museum along with other interesting objects. such as the bed in which he was born, the dress with which he was baptized and the cradle in which the first sleeps slept. Of great anthropological interest is finally the ancient kitchen where everything, from the large fireplace to furnishings, make the visitor take an unexpected step back in time.


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