Posted by: debrakolkka | April 25, 2011

We met Puccini’s granddaughter

We have friends visiting from Germany. Moira and Bernhard went to hear Puccini in Lucca last night and were keen to visit his house by the lake, so we set off for nearby Torre del Lago this morning.

Puccini's house at Torre del Lago

Puccini first went to Torre del Lago in 1891 and had his house built in 1899. This house is still standing and is almost as he left it. You can see the piano where he composed Manon Lescaut, La Boheme, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, La Fanciulla del West, La Rondine and Il Trittico. His house is full of photos and paintings of the composer and friends who visited him, and everday things from his time spent here. His hunting room is there with his gun collection and some shooting trophies. It is as though he has just stepped out to enjoy a walk beside the water.

The chapel in the house where his body and those of his wife, son and daughter-in-law are buried is a beautiful room decorated in Art Nouveau style, as is much of the rest of the house. Lots of his artist friends contributed to the lovely decoration in the house. My camera behaved itself and respected the “No photo” sign. Just as well, as we discovered that the delightful lady who was guiding us through the house was Simonetta Puccini, the composer’s granddaughter. She was a charming host and we had her all to ourselves. It made the visit even more special.

Simonetta Puccini with Alkira and Lukas

It is easy to see why Puccini loved living here. The lake is serene and peaceful and must have been a wonderful inspiration for the composer.

the lake with our mountains in the background

the lake is a haven for birds

a mother duck with her babies


one of the boats that plies the lake

a tranquil spot

a pretty restaurant by the lake

the entrance to the outdoor theatre where there are performances in the summer

the outdoor theatre

Puccini by the lake

Giacomo Puccini

Thank you Simonetta Puccini for making our visit so memorable.

For more information –


  1. What a beautiful spot…I’d like to go there. What do you think it’s like to be the granddaughter of such a talented and famous person. Did Simonetta talk about that at all? Did you get the feeling that she’d chosen to be the “custodian” of his memories or that it fell on her shoulders by chance?

    • Simonetta was born after Puccini died. I believe she had to fight for the right to look after the houses of her grandfather. She was delightful and charming and I think we are so lucky to have been there today. She lives in Milan. You can become a member of the Association of the friends of the homes of Giacomo Puccini. Simonetta is the founder and promoter of the association. She is also Puccini’s only heir. The office of the association is at 12 Piazza Puccini, 55049 Viareggio. Phone 39 0584 341 445. Fax 39 02 4982194.
      There are 3 houses, 1 in Lucca, 1 in Torre del Lago and 1 in Viareggio.

  2. More stunning photos of a beautiful place! What amazing adventures you have.

    • It is gorgeous! We were very excited to meet Simonetta.

  3. This was on my list to visit, so pleased you made it and what a coup meeting the relations. The photo of the lake with the mountains and old jetty is sublime. Roz

    • Isn’t it gorgeous? It was Easter Monday, but there weren’t many people there. The day was a bit overcast, but it still looked beautiful.

  4. transport me please. That jetty on the lake with the mountains as the back drop are begging for dangling legs and some pleasant day dreaming…

    • I would like to sail about on the lake.

  5. Ahhh. So cool that you got to meet Puccini’s granddaughter, that’s so cool.

    • It was the highlight of the day.

  6. What a glorious place, I can understand why it would help to be somewhere beautiful when you are creating something beautiful. He was quite good looking, too, wasn’t he.

    • I think Puccini was quite a handsome man, and very stylish.

  7. Right! That definitely goes on my ‘to-do’ list!

    • It is less than an hour away.

  8. What a beautiful view and no doubt so inspiring to Puccini himself and others that visit.

    • It is a delightful place, no wonder it was his favourite house.

  9. Having Simonetta to ourselves made the trip so special. She was so eager to learn our daughter’s name and I explained to her that it is an Aboriginal name meaning ‘SKY’. She very kindly signed her book ‘La Boheme’ which is a children’s book of my favourite opera and as I have learned, Puccini’s favourite opera! She was so happy for you to photograph her with the children, she had a very warm, kind aura and seeing the villa and the piano and desk was a dream…….although my son thought the hunting room with all the guns was impressive. Thanks for a beaut day exploring new things!

    • It was a great experience, and a lot of fun.

    • I was interested to read your blog about Puccini’s grand-daughter. Were you asked to pay extra to have her as your guide? I have been quoted Euro 150 to have her guide us around.

      • Good grief! No, we just happened upon her. She was very interesting. She never knew her grandfather, he died before she was born.

  10. pretty pictures indeed! 🙂
    finally also the Giacomo Puccini’s house in Lucca will open again in November (I hope so!).

    • We can see Puccini’s Lucca house when we have lunch at Paris Boheme in the square in front.

  11. Thank you for sharing such wonderful adventures Debra, beautiful lake – so inspirational & the perfect place for such an artist to live 🙂

    • He must have had some great times there.

  12. Thanks for the post-this too is on my radar of “to-do’s”-there is never enough time…do you know the times/days they are open for tours? Was it easy to find from Lucca?

    • We went on the autostrada to Pisa Nord and followed the signs for Torre del Lago. Closer to the lake we saw signs for Museo di Puccini. It was easy.
      The museum is closed Mondays. The times vary a bit throughout the year, but roughly open between 10.00am and 12.40pm and 2.30 – 5.20pm. Check the website for more details.

  13. My grandfather Louis Petrozza who passed on many years ago was told he was the illegitimate son of Giacomo and a housemaid. He was born in either 1898 or 1900, we don’t know which as his Italian birth certifcate was different than his American document that he received at Ellis Island in 1914. He always claimed he was “sold” to an “uncle” who had a hat-blocking business in Queens NY and was made to work for food until he learned English and joined the Navy when he was 17 and then saw action in WWI. I am struck by how striking his resemblance was to that of Simonetta.

    Ancient history but an interesting one. I enjoyed reading about your adventure.

    Teresa Pierce (Petrozza)

    • How incredibly interesting! Simonetta fought for years to establish her right to the estate. She has recently opened a museum in the house in Lucca where Puccini was born. I will go there when I return to Italy in February.

      • Yes I had read it was quite a battle but apparently quite a believable story based on the storied affairs of Giacomo himself. As an interesting aside my Grandfather could not carry a tune and frankly preferred listening to the news over music. On the other hand he taught himself to read and write (he never attended school) and was quite an intelligent man. A really good Grandpa too!!! I will be sure to check on your adventures in February, enjoy. The photgraphy alone is worth stopping by here 🙂


      • I pad spell check changed her name to Sumo Etta!!! I hope I will meet Signora Puccini again when I go to the new museum. We considered buying a house in the piazza where the museum is, but it was too expensive. If you sign up you will receive emails when there is a new post. I write a lot, be warned.

  14. My grandfather was born in Torre Del Lago. I went there many years ago to visit my family and was lucky enough to have a private tour of the Villa. I was allowed to play the piano. What a special memory.

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