Built on an already existing building dated 1412, it belonged from the very beginning of the XVI century to the powerful family Diodati, merchants from Lucca.
Their coat of arms, in grey stone of Matraia, still hangs on the northern faÃ§ade of the Villa.
During this period the Villa assumed a Renaissance style, which is still visible in the open gallery with three arcades of the ground floor.
However, it was only with the following owners that it took on the Neoclassical look still preserved today.
From mid-1600 to mid-1800, the Villa was owned first by the Counts Orsetti, then by the Marquises Cittadella and, in the end, it was bought in 1868 by the German financier Rodolfo Schwartze, married to Carolina Grabau.
Thanks to Carolina’s passion and to the continuous trades with Lucca’s Botanical Garden, the Park was enriched with many botanical rarities still existing today.
Carolina’s sister, Costanza, had married the Baron Wilhelm HÃ¼ffer, a wealthy businessman that was living with her between Rome, Paris, and Lucca, where they had bought the neighboring Villa Diodati. Carolina’s brother, Carlo Luigi or â€œLodovicoâ€, was living in the family estate in Palmata: refined and cultured man, he was a respected painter friend of many â€œMacchiaioliâ€ (a famous group of painters active in Tuscany in the second half of the XIX century). Their father, Carlo Grabau, a wealthy banker and ship owner from Hamburg, had moved to Livorno in the early years of 1800 to follow his business and with the role of General Consul of the North Sea Hanseatic Cities for the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
In Italy, he met and married Enrichetta Inghirami, from an ancient aristocratic family of Volterra. The Schwartze did not have any children and the Villa was inherited by Carolina’s nephew, Marcello Grabau, married to Francesca Cenami Spada, from the important aristocratic family of Lucca.
Villa Grabau is still owned by the same family today.