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Palazzo Rocchi Hotel Review – Luxury in Lucca’s Most Central Square

By Amy Munice

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A view from the terrace

 

As you take the elevator to the third floor of a building near a bake shop on the famed Piazza San Michele of Lucca you don’t know quite what to expect.  You have just stepped off one of the busiest crossroads of Lucca that the Romans used to demarcate the center of their city and which houses the very popular Chiesa di San Michele in Foro and its many art treasures. 

 

 

As soon as you step past the door of Palazzo Rocchi you know you have come to a place of rest and luxury.  There are objets d’art all about and in the lounge past the front desk you’ll find many coffee table books about Tuscany, Italy and art displayed along with a tray of fine spirits and a bowl of inviting fruit. 

 

You too may come back later a bit confused as to where your door is as the decoration includes a wallpaper pattern that somewhat camouflages the entrances of the rooms’ doors for the classic décor of the shared living room.

 

 

In your suite you will find a charming anteroom with a small table that will become your breakfast nook.  Open your windows and you may be looking down on Piazza San Michele, which seems much more peaceful from up on high.

 

 

Palazzo Rocchi’s comfort was most recently designed for a family before it became a luxury B&B with five bedroom suites and two apartments. 

 

 

A family bought the space and restored it from 2004 to 2009, originally with the intent of making it a family apartment.  A change of family circumstances resulted in their decision to instead make it a hotel, and in turn to hire Roberto Calabro in 2010 to manage the hotel and its continued renovation. 

 

 

Hiring Roberto was likely a lucky charm for Palazzo Rocchi, and also the entire Piazza San Michele, which he seems to inhabit as a de facto mayor.  Like so many we have met in Tuscany who speak of their passions, Roberto talks of working on the building and managing the hotel as his. 

 

Roberto says, “The primary thing for the guests is that when you come here you have to feel like you are in my house.  People don’t want to go to impersonal chain hotels.  We are small but we really have everything here or I will find it for you.  Look behind you and you’ll see the portable massage table.  We’ve had many people staying here for their weddings in Lucca and we’ve arranged hairstylists and manicurists to come to their room.  I look like the butler maybe and as they stay I become their brother.  If you have a problem I’ll solve it.  For example, one time a guest’s small son had an earache and it was a Saturday so I was able to help by calling a personal friend who is a doctor.  Once, a guest who was staying here was later accused of a robbery and I had the information from his credit card charges that provided an alibi.  There was also the couple who honeymooned here and then wrote me that they named their son who was conceived here “Lucca”. “

 

This is a small peephole into Roberto’s passion for his work, but it is when Roberto invites you for a walk to introduce you to the small shop owners of Piazza San Michele, the part of his job that he loves the most, that you really get a sense of how he loves to show off Lucca first and foremost. 

 

 

He takes you into a wine cellar that goes below street level with many thousands of bottles of wine, some dating back to the 1800’s.  He takes you to a shop that sells grains typical of the region and then shows off the oldest bakery in town. 

 

If only our schedule allowed us to take up Roberto’s invitation for an impromptu wine tasting at a shop in the Piazza…

 

Palazzo Rocchi

Piazzo San Michele, 30

Cap 55100 Lucca (Italy)

 

For bookings, visit the Palazzo Rocchi website or call (+39) 0583 467479

 

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Photos: Courtesy of Palazzo Rocchi, unless otherwise indicated.

 

Published on May 04, 2015

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