The oldest Nymphaeum among the villas in the Lucca area was created between 1570 and 1580 and is dedicated to Pan, god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, depicted in mythology as half man, half animal.
The construction of the grotto, which belonged originally to the garden of the Bishop’s Villa, is attributed to Bernardo Buontalenti (or an architect influenced by him). The upper floor was added during the first half of the 1800s at the behest of Carlo Ludovico of Bourbon.
The Grotto Building
The grotto is fascinating and benefits from a cool interior temperature. It is located away from other buildings and decorated with smooth stone, tuff and black and white pebbles.
In the entranceway, large arches lead to a grotto-like space illuminated by a single opening at the top of the arched ceiling. The walls are covered with limestone formations and decorated with unusual gargoyles and internal niches, which features statues of Pan and other human-like sea creatures.
There are working water jets in hidden locations inside and outside the grotto, which surprise and delight when activated.