New Autograph Collection Hotel to Open in Tuscany

(Photo by Marriott)

Marriott’s Autograph Collection is set to open a new hotel in summer 2020 in Lucca, Italy, a medieval walled city in the Tuscany region. Called the Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection, the new property will be in a renovated 16th-century palazzo in the heart of the city’s old town, overlooking the Piazza del Giglio and Piazza Napoleone. The official opening date is scheduled for June 1, 2020. 

The Grand Universe Lucca will have 55 rooms and suites, a fine dining restaurant, a lounge area with a classical piano anchoring thee space, a rooftop bar with city views and a wine tasting cellar set among the remnants of an ancient fountain. The hotel’s interiors will incorporate colorful silk textiles in earthy shades of grape red, pine green and Tuscan sun yellow to reflect the city’s silk production heritage, while delicate wall tapestries will pay homage to the region’s vineyard patterns. In the accommodations, suspended glass pendant lights will be a nod to the property’s glassblowing history and, to reference the area’s musical past, the name of each from type – from the Adagio room to the Maestro suite – will be music-themed. 

Food and beverage outlets will include the Symphony Lounge at the ground hall, which will host live piano music, and the first-floor Legacy Restaurant, serving local cuisine accompanied by fine wines. The Sommitá Rooftop Bar will offer craft cocktails and light bites against a backdrop of city views, with cocktail names inspired by the great personalities of the city, such as Elisa, Giacomo and Vittorio. Wine-tasting sessions will be held in the Eterno Wine Cellar alongside the remnants of an ancient fountain. 

Recent findings show that the actual foundation of the hotel dates back to the roman period, circa 200 BC. A palazzo of the Paoli family during the Renaissance in the mid-18th century, the site was turned into a hotel – Hotel Universo e Tosca, opened in 1857 – that became a destination for artists, poets, philosophers and royalty from around the world. Opera composer Giacomo Puccini was said to be a frequent guest in between performances at Teatro del Giglio. The property closed in 2015 and has since undergone a restoration. 

The hotel is located in front of the Teatro del Giglio and adjacent to Piazza Napoleone. Each July, the Lucca Summer Festival is hosted here, with the likes of Elton John, Green Day, Bob Dylan and Imagine Dragons. Celine Dion will headline the festival in 2020. 

Lucca is in a valley northwest of Florence, at the foot of the Apuan Alps and less than half an hour from the coast of Versilia. Its heritage ranges from antiquity through to the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Enlightenment, and today it is known for the well-preserved Renaissance-era walls encircling its city center. (The broad, tree-lined wall-tops are popular for strolling and cycling.) Named “the City of 100 Churches,” Lucca has many uniquely preserved churches of great historic importance, including its landmark, the Duomo San Martino. The city also has a unique wine and olive oil road named “Strada del Vino e dell.”

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