In the center of Lucca you will come across a charming small square with a Puccini statue. Standing in front of it, to the right you will see a residential house, maybe you will even notice freshly washed linens hanging out of the window. That is the home of the great Giacomo Puccini.
The author of Tosca, Turandot, La Boheme, and many other classical operas was born here to a local musical dynasty on December 22, 1858. He lived there for 22 years and moved to Milan for work, although he missed the house and wrote about his nostalgia in various letters. Throughout his life, the apartment, where the Puccini family lived (they didn’t own the whole house) was redecorated, but in 1970s when the heirs donated the apartment to be transformed into a museum, the architects reinstated the original layout of the rooms and recovered the decorations of the walls. Today the museum meticulously presents the apartment the way Puccini himself saw it.
The collection includes his handwritten letters and musical scores with his notes, original costumes from operas, staged with Puccini’s engagement, various artifacts, including the piano he used to create “Turandot” and the last one he ever played. The museum is not that vast, but it is all presented in a very special way – the moment you step in, you hear Puccini’s music. In every room you will hear various operas, and they do not interrupt each other, they go together seamlessly. The museum is filled with family love and music.
What makes the museum even more special is that the house is still actually a residential home. That is why before coming in, you should get a museum ticket, the office is situated on the left-hand side of the Puccini statue. Only with the ticket you can come into the house and go up two flights of stairs (so better leave heels at home) to get into the Puccini musical world.
If you are in charge of your time, visit the museum with a free, guided tour – every Friday from June to September at 12 PM in English and every Saturday and third Sunday of each month all year long at 12 PM in Italian. If you don’t catch the tour, we suggest uploading a free Puccini Museum app – a free virtual guide, with information on the house and the places of interest concerning Puccini around the city. And if you didn’t do that and you are already in the museum, don’t be upset! The museum staff are very friendly and helpful, they will surely offer you insight and background information on anything you would want to know.
It is great to finish up the highly atmospheric visit in one of the cafes on the square, by the Puccini statue. We particularly recommend cocktails in “Turandot” restaurant in summer and great original hot chocolate if you are cold.
Tip: The museum is on the third floor of a historical house with architectural restrictions, so if you need a lift for a stroller of a wheelchair, it is better to let the museum know preliminary via email.
Fact: Touring the museum not only gives insight into Puccini’s life, but also gives a chance to experience from the inside what an upper middle class Luccan apartment is like.
Puccini was christened at home by special permit the next day after his birth, most probably because there was danger of his death.