Historic vehicle rally at Villa Reale: a trip down memory lane
On Sunday the 20th of September Villa Reale featured along the route of a rally of historic vehicles used in the Second World War, part of the Via della Memoria project. The event, organised for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Capannori, was promoted by the Comune of Capannori together with the Assocazione Linea Gotica della Lucchesia and the Lucca section of the Assocazione Nazionale Bersaglieri. A line of period military vehicles including jeeps, sidecars and motor cars with drivers in historic military uniforms departed from Tassignano airport stopping at significant points along the route, including the residence of Villa Reale. Almost 100 prisoners, including disbanded Italian and escaped allied soldiers, were held here at Villa Reale in farm buildings (part of the Palazzina dell’Orologio), watched by two guards. After the 8th of September 1943 they were released, with farm staff at Villa Reale providing them with civilian clothes and sufficient food supplies to last a few days. The prisoners were then able to reach the Pizzorne woods and the areas of Morianese, Brancoleria and Valle della Lima where they found shelter and protection (Pesi, 2011 pp.117-118).
Emmanuel Pesi, Resistenze civili. Clero e popolazione lucchese nella seconda guerra mondiale, Maria Pacini Fazzi, Lucca 2011, pp. 117-118.