History

History

The origin of this house are traced back to Buonviso di Corrado, adviser to the Roman Emperor Otto III, who around 1042 gave some land to the church of S. Pancrazio.

In the following century the house of Buonvisi grew into a powerful lucchese banking and silk trading dynasty with ramifications to Flanders Spain and England. Owing to their stature and political weight the Buonvisis had also several important clergymen in their family and most notably three Cardinals.

The most famous of these was Francesco Buonvisi born in 1626 who was nominated Cardinal by Innocent XI in 1681 and who in 1690 became Bishop of Lucca. Cardinal Francesco was Apostolic Envoy to Cologne, Warsaw and Vienna where he participated in the defense and relief of the city when the Turks lay siege to the city in 1683. When back in Lucca he dedicated himself mainly to his diocese. Few months before his death in 1700 Cardinal Francesco hosted a Sinod which took place in the great hall of his Villa now Villa Oliva.

With the death of Francesco Gerolamo Buonvisi in 1800 the family was extinct and the Villa became property of Maria Caterina Buonvisi married to Nicola Montecatini. Throughout the 19th century the Villa was owned by various families and at the biginning of 20th century by the Oliva’s, ancient genovese family. Since then, the House has been restored to its former beauty and is now the summer residence of the Oliva family.