Inside one of the oldest and most evocative palaces in the center of Lucca, Atelier Ricci recalls a piece of history of the best Italian tailoring heritage. Here, among its walls covered in pure silk and the frescoed vaults, the local aristocracy as well as many international artists have their perfect dress made.
In the central district of San Paolino, between Via Burlamacchi, Piazza del Palazzo Dipinto and Piazza Cittadella, Palazzo Orsetti-Cittadella-Mazzarosa is the prestigious headquarters of Atelier Ricci. When in the city, it is impossible to miss it as, especially in the summer, from its huge windows on the ground floor you can see colorful skirts and dresses “dancing” in the breeze.
The founder of the Atelier was the eclectic tailor Piero Ricci, nicknamed “the Halston from Lucca” due to his exuberant looks and exceptional talent. He found in the palace the perfect location for its business in the 1990s, thus starting a renovation project that brought the property back to its former glory. After his retirement from the scene, the Atelier passed to his daughter Patrizia who, with dedication and great sensitivity, today carries on her dad’s ancient and refined art.
My father dressed many noblewomen and artists such as Mina, Ornella Vanoni and Antonella Ruggero for their musical shows in the 80s.(Patrizia Ricci)
Historical sources show that the palace was originally owned by the Dombellinghi family, important feudal lords of the 12th century. Over the centuries it changed hands, undergoing various stylistic changes, first with the Orsetti-Cittadella family, following the marriage of Chiara Orsetti and Ferrante Cittadella in 1771 and then with the Marquis Mazzarosa family, the current owners.
The location is truly extraordinary, especially when it comes to the precious restoration of the ground floor carried out by Piero himself, a man of innate elegance born “with a needle in his hand”. From the walls covered with Lucchese silk damask fabrics to the many antiques, chosen one by one from the best antique dealers of Lucca, the Atelier hides in fact many treasures.
The frescoes that embellish the ceilings have been attributed to Ippolito and Giovanni Marracci, a pupil of Piero da Cortona and a member of the Lucca Academy. The main one, positioned in the large entrance hall, represents the chariot of Virtue which, preceded by Victory and Fame, overwhelms Vice.
Each of the 5 rooms is characterized by a different color which gives the Atelier a particular atmosphere: from the large room, the heart of the atelier, to the red one, from the white room to the turquoise one. Here, among old fashion magazines, basted dresses and huge fairytale mirrors, Patrizia makes dream dresses for her clients by following the footsteps of her father Piero, her mentor and source of inspiration. “A Ricci is forever” as Patrizia tells us, remembering a bride who came to the Atelier to personalize a dress originally made for her mother 35 years earlier and still beautiful.
The Atelier, in addition to hosting fashion shows, shootings and events, has become the home of Artigiani in Atelier, an annual initiative that involves the best Tuscan artisans and designers, inviting them to exhibit their creations.
The building has lived through periods of sacred and profane glories. It is, in fact, the only one in Lucca which could be accessed directly by carriage. The courtyard, specially equipped for this purpose, was therefore the perfect setting for secret meetings, political conspiracies, as well as secret love affairs protected from the prying eyes of the city.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 8 to 13 and from 14.30 to 19.30