Camellias in bloom: March in Tuscany

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Camellias, camellias and more camellias…March is fast approaching, the month that this flower – originally from Japan – is seen in all its magnificence. The perfect time for a day trip beyond the walls of Lucca to experience it!

March 2019 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Ancient Camellias at Sant’Andrea di Compito. A range of events are planned (see the full programme here) and Villa Reale is proud to support this important celebration by exhibiting its own historic camellias at the Borgo on the following dates: 16th-17th March, 23rd-24th March, 30th-31st March and the 6th-7th April.

You can also see flowering camellias in the magical gardens at Villa Reale in Marlia. The camellias flower for around 6 weeks – you can visit the park of Villa Reale from the 1st of March until the 7th of April 2019 at a reduced price, taking advantage of the combined ticket for the Mostra delle antiche camelie della Lucchesia (Exhibition of Ancient Camellias in the Lucchese Area) plus a visit to the Park of Villa Reale, for €13.

This ticket allows you to visit the historic gardens of Marlia at the Villa on one day in March (or the first week of April) to see its unique camellia-lined paths in flower, and benefit from a discount at the Camellia Exhibition on one of the 4 weekends it is open.

Smart Camellias: You can find out more about the Camellias in the Park of Villa Reale by using your smartphone to scan the QR Code on the signage. Scanning the code will take you to specific online information about the unique features of each variety. The digital classification and cataloguing process was completed thanks to the Camellietum Compitese organisation at Sant’Andrea di Compito (Lucca), who believed in this project and assisted us in providing more innovative and complete descriptions.

You can find some of the camellias highly characteristic of the region in the two distinct camellia-lined pathways at Villa Reale. In March, they begin to flower – more than 30 ancient varieties and a range of forms and colours, from white to red and pink with numerous shades in between.

The arrival of the camellia in Lucca is thanks to Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, who in 1808 ordered the delivery of plants for her garden, including the Camelie Japonica from Reggia di Caserta, where her brother Giuseppe, King of Naples, lived.



To visit the Borgo and the Ancient Camelia Exhibition, you need to leave your car and take a shuttle bus from the Frantoio Sociale di Compitese – via di Tiglio 609, Pieve di Compito (Capannori). After visiting the exhibition, you can then reach Villa Reale by car and use the car parks next to the Park entrance in via Fraga Alta 2, 55014 Marlia (Capannori).

If you would prefer to visit these two attractions in the opposite order (first Villa Reale then the Exhibition), no problem – you can also buy the combined ticket from us here at the Park.


The exhibition is open from 10am until 6pm (the ticket office closes at 4:30pm), and requires approximately two hours to see. The Park of Villa Reale has the same opening hours and we recommend taking at least an hour or an hour and a half to make the most of your visit.


What else can you visit in Capannori and Lucca? The villas in this area are part of the unique and special built heritage in the area. Click here to discover suggested itineraries from the Associazione Ville e Palazzi Lucchesi (Lucchese Association of Villas and Listed Buildings) with opening hours and directions to the gardens which are open during the exhibition weekends.