Lifestyle

Custom Portraits? Yawn. This Tuscan Palazzo Offers Custom Musical Compositions

Italy’s undisputed heart of musical culture, and birthplace to more renowned musicians and composers than just about any other city in the world, Lucca’s history dates all the way back to the Etruscans. Unlike most locations with such ancient lineage, though, Lucca has remained vibrant through nearly every era of history, adding to both Italian and world culture. Standing guard over Piazza Napoleone (the main square of Lucca, better known as Piazza Grande by locals), Grand Universe Lucca occupies historic bones that have seen the city through its triumphs and tragedies since the days of Ancient Rome. From its beginning, serving as a glassblower’s workshop, through its 16th-century conversion to a noble palazzo and into the 19th-century hotel that continues in its newest iteration today, it continues to inspire local and visiting creatives as a luxury property preserving and promoting the city’s immense musical heritage. The 55 rooms and suites of the storied palazzo are organized in musically-inspired categories ranging from the Piccolo Room to the Puccini Suite named, for the operatic composer who frequented the property in his day, but the Symphony Lounge offers one of the world’s most unique hotel amenities: a personal prelude composed specifically for, and about, you.

In November, Grand Universe Lucca launched as the Autograph Collection’s 200th hotel, bringing the coveted brand of place-centered luxury to the city’s medieval heart. Fine Italian dining, an elegant rooftop bar and contemporary rooms that honor the rich cultural heritage of the property and its environs are all noteworthy jewels in the hotel’s collection, but the crowning experience of a visit here occurs in the Symphony Room, where resident classical composer Felicity Lucchesi (yes, her last name literally means “from Lucca”) creates, on the spot, a custom prelude that encapsulates your own essence. From a brief interview that touches on your key personality traits (are you a shy romantic? an explosive dynamic?), Lucchesi draws out your essential themes to melodically introduce you just as a musical prelude introduces the piece to come.

While the maestro works, no need to stare awkwardly around the room while anxiously awaiting the mini masterpiece headed your way. Settle into oversize chairs by the grand piano in the Symphony Lounge and nosh on Italian pastries between sips of the country’s best coffees and teas. When your one-of-a-kind treasure is complete, the sheet music will be tied in silk ribbon and presented to you in a beautiful Tuscan leather box to protect and display your personal notes as you bring home a treasured souvenir you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the world.

Sure, you can (and should) dive into all of the Italian delights the gorgeous hotel brings your way, from pasta workshops and pastry making instruction to honey and olive oil pairing lessons, but you’ll find at least some degree of these at great properties throughout the country and even beyond; only Lucca is the seat of Italian musical heritage, though, and only Grand Universe Lucca will present you with your very own musical prelude.

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