Medici villas and gardens in Tuscany, Italy

Attractions in Florence: Medici Gardens, Florence Panoramas, Holidays and Traditions 2021-2022 Change the title

Today’s issue we have prepared for you together with the Tourism Office of Tuscany to tell you about the beautiful Florence, perhaps even something new. You will find the photos in the text at the link.Best wishes, your ENIT

Photo: Toscana Promozione Turistica PHOTO FLORENCE: https://yadi.sk/d/dI6DE5XUEuZyjw

FLORENCE – The best sights, holidays 2021 – 2022 in Florence

Florence is famous all over the world for its historical and artistic heritage, which is truly unique. But it’s not just that.

The historic center, which is under UNESCO protection, is a veritable open-air museum, where you can admire the facades of the imposing basilicas that make up the unmistakable skyline of the city, or walk through the magnificent palaces, witnessing the different eras of the city: Florence – the cradle of the Renaissance, capital of the Italian kingdom, an important center of avant-garde culture of the first half of the 20th century.

Invaluable classical museums (the Uffizi, the Accademia, the Bargello, Palazzo Pitti, the Medici Chapels housing works by great masters such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, but also Botticelli, Masaccio, Donatello and many others) are adjacent to sites that introduce contemporary history, such as the Museo Novecento (20th century) and temporary exhibitions in Forte Belvedere or Palazzo Strozzi. Here is the Palazzo Vecchio, the museum and still the center of civic power, and at the same time the latest science, university and fashion museums.

Florence is a city that cares about man and nature: its streets and buildings are “human scale”, there are many bicycle and pedestrian zones. Florence is a truly green city thanks to its numerous parks and gardens, including a number of Medici villas located in the historic center and in the suburbs.

The identity of any city lies first and foremost in its typical features, often centuries-old traditions that make it truly unique. Florence is also the art of its craftsmen and artisans, handed down from generation to generation, which is worth visiting the stores of the Oltrarno. Florence is made up of folk traditions (from historical soccer to the Easter wagon explosion), unique flavors (Florentine steak, ribollita soup, lampredotto meat sandwich), typical dishes and wines, historic merchants (a series of historic stores marked by a quality label).

The musical tradition of Florence is also strong (not without reason it was the birthplace of opera and piano), thanks to a rich program of seasons such as the Florence Music May (one of the oldest festivals in Europe), the Orchestra of Tuscany, the Friends of Music. But music is not only classical… In recent years, for example, the Firenze Rocks festival has been very popular, featuring leading international bands of the genre.

The city also hosts many other interesting events: exhibitions of works by local artists, the Biennale of Antiques, major events in the fashion industry curated by Pitti Immagine, first-class theater and film festivals and sporting events, starting with the Florence Marathon.

An introduction to Florence would not be complete without taking a look “beyond the city walls”, into the neighboring hills and the neighborhoods that for centuries have provided it with products, people and even traditions; outside of beautiful Florence, equally beautiful landscapes, works of art, settlements and all kinds of beauty await you.

We invite you to discover Florence through the official tourist portal https://www.feelflorence.it/

THE MEDICI VILLAS AND GARDENS IN FLORENCE

In 2013, the Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Harmoniously integrated into the Tuscan landscape, the Medici villas from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries are a unique heritage left to us by the Medici dynasty. They were both resting places and cultural centers, stopping off on journeys and hunting trips; they were the focal point of the surrounding farmland; they were a symbol of the social status and hegemony of this powerful dynasty.

Perfectly integrated into their surroundings, adorned with magnificent gardens, works of art and innovative technological solutions, they became a new model of princely residence, based on some fundamental principles of Renaissance humanism and the Renaissance. We can trace its evolution over the centuries, from the first villas built by Cosimo the Elder in the Medici homeland of Mugello (Cafagiolo, Trebbio), still resembling medieval fortresses but “softened” by Michelozzo’s genius, to those built by Lorenzo the Magnificent in the heyday of humanism (Poggio-a-Caiano and Fiesole); and those adorned with the famous Italian-style gardens (Castello, Petraia, Boboli) designed by Niccolò Tribolo for Cosimo I.

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The Villa Cerreto-Guidi bears the strong imprint of Buontalenti’s talent, but even stronger in the Villa Pratolino, commissioned by Francesco I; While Ferdinand I owes it to the Villa of the “hundred chimneys” of Artimino, the great duchesses Maria Maddalena of Austria and Vittoria della Rovere (wives of Cosimo II and Ferdinando II respectively) owe the main phases of construction to Poggio Imperiale, which became in chronological order the last Villa of the Medici.

The Boboli Garden, in the center of Florence (part of the Pitti Palace complex), is a veritable open-air museum as it is decorated with wonderful statues, grottoes, monumental artistic pools.

There are three other splendid villas in Florence: the Petraia and Castello are open to the public (but it is always best to check their opening hours) and, finally, the beautiful Villa di Caredgi, which will soon be reopened after a very long restoration.

About 30 minutes from Florence, along the Via Bolognese, in the municipality of Valle, is the fabulous Medici Pratolino Park, designed as a veritable “garden of wonders” by Francesco I. It is also known as Villa Demidoff and is usually open from April to October.

Other villas, the most ancient, are in the area where the Medici dynasty originated, Mugello: Trebbio (open from April to October) and Cafagiolo (closed for restoration).

Since the mid-16th century, during the period of the Grand Duchy of the Medici, many other villas were built, such as the Cerreto Guidi (open to visitors), the Villa Medici in Fiesole and the neoclassical Villa Poggio-Imperiale in Florence.

The Medici palace in Seravezza in the province of Lucca contrasts with the typical luxury of the other villas with its extreme simplicity of construction. Today it belongs to the municipality and is open to the public.

A few kilometers from Prato is the Villa Medici in Poggio-a Caiano, built by Giuliano da Sangallo for Lorenzo the Magnificent (open to the public); Villa Artimino near Carmignano, built by Grand Duke Ferdinando I near the Barco Reale hunting lodge (visit by prior reservation). Finally, last but by no means least, the Villa La Maja in Cuarrata, in the province of Pistoia, which is open to the public.

The most reliable information about all the Medici villas and gardens in Tuscany on the official website https://www.villegiardinimedicei.it/?lang=en

18 PANORAMIC POINTS OF FLORENCE

There are many places from where you can admire the unique panorama of Florence and its surroundings.

In addition to the terrace “with a view” in Piazza Michelangelo, we suggest visiting the highest part of the Boboli Gardens, San Miniato al Monte, as well as lesser known places such as Piazza Desiderio da Settignano, Badia Fiesolana, Bellosguardo and many others.

According to a recent regulation of the Municipality of Florence, the outline of the city and its immediate surroundings (the neighboring hills, Fiesole, Bagno-a-Ripoli, Sesto) cannot be significantly altered so that new structures cannot distort this unique beauty, which can be admired from these 18 panoramic points : Boboli Gardens, Villa Bardini, the church of San Miñato al Monte, Piazza Michelangelo, Santa Maria alla Batiuzza, San Tommaso a Baroncelli, Via vía del Loretino, Piazza Desiderio da Settignano, Villa Medici in Fiesole, Badia Fiesolana, Monte Rinaldi, Orti del Parnaso, Villa Fabbricotti, Villa Petraia, the church of Santa Lucia alla Castellina, Via vie di Monte Oliveto, Via vie di San Carlo, Via vie di Bellosguardo.

FOLK FESTIVALS AND TRADITIONS OF FLORENCE

Italy is rich in folk traditions and theatrical celebrations, which help the inhabitants of individual cities to preserve their history. Every year to live some religious and secular events, or prominent events from the history of a city means to better know and preserve its identity.

The historic Florentine soccer, the Easter wagon explosion and the Rificolon’s paper lantern festival are just some of the most famous Florentine folk traditions.

All of them go back centuries and attract thousands of citizens and tourists every year. Most are based on a fusion of religion and popular culture; but some are related to specific historical episodes in which reality is closely intertwined with legend. Historic Florentine soccer has very ancient origins, with four teams, one from each historic district, competing against each other in a rather “tough” game. After two semifinal games, the finals take place on June 24, the feast day of John the Baptist, the city’s patron saint. Each match is preceded by a spectacular historical procession of the Republic of Florence. At the end of the celebrations in honor of the city’s patron saint, the sky lights up with colorful fireworks. The custom of blowing up the Easter wagon dates back to the time of the First Crusade, when several stones of the Holy Sepulchre were brought to Florence, from which the Holy Fire is still carved for the holiday. On Easter morning, in the midst of a succession of historic processions, a carriage is placed between the cathedral and the baptistery; while the service is going on, a dove figure rushes from the main altar to the carriage, and a colorful fireworks display begins. The celebration of La Rificolana takes place on the evening of September 7, when adults and little ones cheerfully illuminate the town with colorful paper lanterns. Processions from everywhere flock to Piazza Santissima Annunziata, where it all began: there was a fair where peasants, merchants and pilgrims came from everywhere to light their way with typical lanterns.

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Calendar of events. We have told you about three of the most famous folk traditions in Florence, but throughout the year it is enlivened by other events: the picturesque Cavalcade of the Magi (January 6), the “Elettriche Palatine” or celebrations in honor of the Elector of Palatinate, wife of the Elector, i.e. On the 18th of February we can name the prince of the Holy Roman Empire who had the right to elect the emperor since the 13th century, the Florentine New Year (celebrated until 1750 on the Feast of the Annunciation on the 25th of March), the Trofeo Mardzocco (a banner-juggling competition held in the square of the Signoria all over Italy: May 1), Infiorata floral carpets in Piazza Signoria (May 23) in memory of the martyrdom of Savonarola and his fellow Dominicans. Sant’Anna (July 26 commemorating the liberation from tyranny of the Duke of Athens in 1343), San Lorenzo, the second patron saint of Florence (August 10), and November 30 is celebrated in Florence and throughout the region as the Feast of Tuscany in memory of how the Grand Duke of Tuscany Pietro Leopoldo abolished the death penalty in 1786. Another holiday is dedicated to San Zanobi, the eminent bishop of Florence of the early fifth century: on May 25 the miracle of the blossoming tree during the transfer of the bishop’s coffin to the ancient cathedral of Santa Reparata is remembered, as the ancient column near the baptistery.

TRADITIONAL FLORENCE CUISINE

Typical Florentine dishes are simple and delicious: the famous Florentine steak, ribollita soup, meat sandwich lampredotto, ice cream (incidentally, it was invented in Florence), Florentine sweets like squiacciata, and also dishes from the surrounding cuisine: beef stew pepo del impuneta, tortelli mugellani and of course, Chianti wine . Here you can read all about them in detail: https://www.feelflorence.it/en/node/11321

And we’d like to suggest a few panoramic restaurants where eating local cuisine is particularly enjoyable:

La Loggia in Piazza Michelangelo https://ristorantelaloggia.it/

THINGS TO DO IN FLORENCE

We recommend that you at least once take a trip on the typical “barchetto” boat driven by the Renaiolo (as workers who cleaned the Arno River were called in the early twentieth century) to admire the city from an unusual point of view. Read more https://www.feelflorence.it/en/node/16776

Florence offers numerous and unexpected sporting activities: canoeing or kayaking on the Arno; target shooting and archery, equestrian activities and classic hiking and biking trails in Florence’s largest public park, the Parco delle Cascina, just steps away from the city center; for golfers, the possibility to use the world’s first urban golf club. Read more https://www.feelflorence.it/en/node/16786

There are many hiking and biking trails in and around Florence: https://www.feelflorence.it/en/percorsi/218?field_macrocategoria_percorso_target_id=218

NON-TRIVIAL ROUTES IN FLORENCE

Florence may seem to be well-trodden, but there are many routes that are a little off the beaten track. So as not to bore you with a detailed story, here are the main landmarks: Dante’s Florence https://www.feelflorence.it/en/node/38130 , medieval tower houses https://www.feelflorence.it/en/node/16855 , pilgrims’ houses https://www.feelflorence.it/en/node/16253 .

FLORENCE’S GLOBAL ARTISTIC MASTERPIECES

Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, is undoubtedly a treasury of world masterpieces, especially paintings, sculptures and architecture. There are many original paintings by Michelangelo (David, the Servants), Botticelli (The Spring, The Birth of Venus, The Adoration of the Magi, Portrait of the Unknown Man with the Medal of Cosimo de Medici the Elder, Madonna della Loggia, The Finding of Holofernes’ Body and others), Raphael (Madonna in the Chair, Donna Velata, Madonna Granduca, the pair portraits of Agnolo and Maddalena Doni, Madonna and the Cheek, Portrait of Leo X), Caravaggio (Medusa, Bacchus, The Sacrifice of Isaac, Sleeping Cupid, Portrait of the Maltese Knight (Portrait of Fra Antonio Martelli), Donatello (Judith and Holofernes, David), Benvenuto Cellini (Perseus), Giambologna (Abduction of the Sabine Woman, Mercury), Verrocchio (David) – to name but a few!

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PRODUCTS OF LOCAL FLORENTINE CRAFTSMEN

The works of Florentine craftsmen made Florence famous all over the world and became its visiting card along with the most important art monuments. They are gold, leather, glass, ceramics, silk, perfumes, ready-made clothes and shoes, embroidery and much more. Read more https://www.feelflorence.it/en/node/33733

The art of leather craftsmanship is inextricably linked to the history of Florence. The connection is very ancient, as tanning of leather was known on this territory since Etruscan times. In the XV century rich Florentine families began to invest in tannery and part of the production ended up in the city. Read more https://www.feelflorence.it/en/node/33690

THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO FLORENCE

The best period (when tourist flows are usually reduced) is from October to December (excluding the Christmas vacation period until January 6) and from mid-January to April (except for the Easter period). In contrast, the peak tourist influx is in May, and even more so in June, July, August and September.

The information is distributed by the Moscow representative office of the National Agency for Tourism of Italy ENIT. Once a month we dedicate an issue to one of the Italian cities, revealing the potential of this tourist destination and introducing offbeat itineraries. We tell you what you can discover in the great cities of art, whether you are here for business or pleasure.

This issue is prepared in collaboration with the Tuscany Tourist Office.

Learn more about Italy and the calendar of interesting events: http://www.italia.it/ru .

Visit our virtual exhibition “ENIT and ITALY: A LONG AND BEAUTIFUL HISTORY” at mostrevirtuali.enit.it: it tells the beauty, culture and art through the eyes of the Italian National Tourism Agency.

The Medici villas around Florence

Even if you love Florence very much, getting away from the city for a while in nature is always nice. What could be better than spending a day in a villa of the Medici themselves? We decided to figure out where you can feel like a true Renaissance duke.

Villa Cafagiolo

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This villa is one of the oldest on our list. One of the main architects of the early Renaissance, Michelozzo, gave it its modern look. It was beloved by Lorenzo the Magnificent, who spent his youth here, and as ruler gathered the famous humanists Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Marsilio Ficino and Angelo Policiano in the palace.

A little later the Schiavon brothers founded a ceramics factory in the villa, one of the best of its time. Cosimo I organized a “hunting reserve” at the villa, where rare animals lived in the wild. When the Lorena dynasty succeeded the Medici dynasty, its representatives preferred Villa Cafagiolo to the other Medici villas. After the unification of Italy, the villa passed to the Savoy dynasty, then was sold to the Borghese family. The villa houses a museum, but is currently closed for restoration.

Villa Trebbio

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The villa is in the part of Tuscany where the Medici family itself is from. It is considered one of the first (and perhaps the very first) of the family’s villas. Back in the fourteenth century it belonged to Giovanni di Bicci, through whom the family made its fortune. Giovanni’s son Cosimo the Elder, the first ruler of Florence of the Medici family, commissioned Michelozzo to rebuild the villa. The villa was rather like a fortified castle. It was surrounded by a moat of water and had a drawbridge. However, some elements of the new architecture had already appeared, such as an inner walled garden, like in Roman villas, which was a rarity in the 15th century. In the garden of Villa Trebbia, Cosimo the Elder loved to rest from political affairs. The villa was also the favorite residence of the Grand Duke Cosimo I. The villa is now privately owned, with access by appointment only.

Villa Caredgi

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The most famous Medici villa, seat of the Academy of Plato and favorite country residence of Lorenzo the Magnificent. The villa was built as a fortified castle under Giovanni di Bicci and rebuilt by Michelozzo under Cosimo the Elder. Of note is the large open loggia, which later became a typical element of Renaissance villas. It was used as a holiday villa by the sons of Giovanni di Bicci, Cosimo and Lorenzo the Elder.

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It was here, in 1459, that Cosimo the Elder founded the Academy of Plato, the most important philosophical school of Italian humanism, associated with the names of Cristoforo Landino, Marsilio Ficino and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. Lorenzo the Magnificent made the villa a true cultural center of the Renaissance. It was here that Lorenzo died in 1492. This villa was the first example of a country residence where rulers lived not in the city itself but in its environs.

Later, at the behest of Cardinal Carlo de’ Medici, the villa’s garden was redesigned by landscape architects who also designed the Boboli Gardens. Villa Caredgi was popular with foreign travelers who made the “Grand Tour” of Italy and were interested in the history of the Medici and the Academy of Plato. In 1848 the villa was bought by Sir Francis Joseph Sloane of England who planted various exotic plants in the park. It is now open to visitors.

Villa Fiesole (Villa Belcanto)

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In the mid-15th century this villa was bought by Cosimo the Elder for his son Giovanni, known for his love of art, and rebuilt by Michelozzo. Giovanni was a collector of books and paintings and a great lover of architecture. He personally chose for the building of the villa on the hillside, which offers a beautiful panorama, which was contrary to all architectural principles of the time. There are absolutely no defensive and military elements, and the garden is arranged on different levels of terraces, which made it one of the most striking examples of Renaissance villas and an example for subsequent buildings.

Since part of the villa belongs to the hotel and the villa is privately owned, it is not easy to visit the building, but the gardens of the villa are open to the public.

Villa Poggio-a-Caiano (Villa Ambra)

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One of the most famous Medici villas, the best example of the architecture of Lorenzo the Magnificent. It was built in the 1480s by Lorenzo in harmony with his vision of harmony. The architect was Giuliano di Sangallo. Unlike, for example, Villa Caredgi, built only 30 years ago but still resembling a medieval castle, Villa Poggio-a-Caiano is completely devoid of military purpose. This new approach to architecture was made possible by the period of peace and stability achieved by Lorenzo de’ Medici. In the Hall of Leo X, one should pay attention to the cycle of frescoes celebrating the family home. The villa is currently home to a museum.

Official website:

Villa Castello

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This villa, bought by the Medici in 1480, is known primarily for its gardens, second only to the Boboli Gardens in Florence. The villa is now occupied by the Accademia della Crusca, Italy’s most prestigious linguistic institution and regulator of the Italian language. The villa belonged to a lateral line of the Medici family that eventually gave Tuscany its first Grand Duke, Cosimo I. It was at the villa at Castello that the future Cosimo I spent his childhood years. Cosimo I subsequently commissioned Giorgio Vasari to rebuild the villa, which served representative functions. Access to the building is by appointment only, but it is safe to walk through its gardens.

Villa La Petraia

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One of the most beautiful Medici villas with a beautiful panorama of Florence. The villa did not come into the possession of the Medici until 1544. The son of Duke Cosimo I, Ferdinando, commissioned Bernardo Buontalenti to rebuild it. The villa’s three terrace gardens were inspired by those of the Villa Medici in Rome, where Ferdinando lived as a cardinal. The villa also has an English garden. Villa La Petraia is famous for its cycle of frescoes, The Glory of the House of Medici, painted by Volterrano in the seventeenth century. After the unification of Italy, the villa served as the residence of King Victor Emmanuel II. The villa is open to visitors.

Villa Poggio Imperiale

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This Villa Medici has the most “unrecessionary” appearance: outwardly it is built in the style of classicism, but inside it is dominated by baroque. The villa was once called “Poggio Baroncelli” after the first owners and witnessed various important events. It passed to the Medici in 1565, when Cosimo I simply confiscated it from the Salviati family for insubordination. In the 17th century, Maria Magdalena of Austria, wife of Cosimo II, commissioned the architect Giulio Parigi to completely rebuild the villa. Since Maria Magdalena was descended from the Habsburg imperial family, the villa was named “Poggio Imperiale” in her honor, and its interiors were painted with subjects that glorified the Habsburg house. On April 2, 1770, Mozart himself performed his only concert at the villa. At the beginning of the 19th century the villa was rebuilt again, giving it a classical appearance. Then the most famous Danish sculptor B. Torvaldsen took part in the decoration of the villa. Since 1865 and up to the present day, Villa Poggio Imperiale houses the Institute of the Blessed Annunciation (Santissima Annunziata), a boarding school for girls. The villa is open to visitors as a museum, but only on certain days.

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Pratolino Garden

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The former Villa Pratolino is the most extravagant and most “Russian” of the Medici villas – now called Villa Demidoff. The villa’s garden, made in the English style, is one of the most beautiful and largest in Tuscany.

The villa is quite far from Florence, at the foot of the Apennines. The villa was purchased in the second half of the 16th century by Francesco I, who commissioned Bernardo Buontalenti to build a country house for his wife Bianca Capello. The villa must have been of maximum wealth; famous sculptors such as Giambologna, Choli, Danti and Ammanati took part in its decoration. Francesco I liked everything mysterious and unusual, so there were various unusual mechanisms, fountains-quakes pouring water, antique statues, labyrinths and grottos in Villa Pratolino. It is worth noting the giant 14-metre statue Allegory of the Apennines by Giambologna, depicting an old man personifying the Apennines, merging with the surrounding nature.

Under the Lorena dynasty this villa fell into complete disrepair, so that in 1820 the historic building of the villa had to be demolished. After the unification of Italy, the villa was purchased by the rich Russian family of the Demidovs, whose representatives had lived in Tuscany since Nikolai Demidov was appointed Russian ambassador to Florence in 1822. The Demidovs restored the surviving buildings, then commissioned the architect Emilio de Fabris to rebuild one of the structures into the new main building of the villa that still exists today. The Demidovs owned the villa until 1981, when it passed from the last member of the family to the state. The garden is open to visitors during the warmer months, but sometimes, as an exception, it can also be visited in winter.

Villa La Madja

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In 1536, a historic meeting between Duke Alessandro de’ Medici of Florence and the famous Holy Roman Emperor Charles V took place in this villa while hunting.

The villa had belonged to the Medici family since 1583, purchased by Francesco I, who pursued a strategy of gradual expansion of his dynasty’s land holdings. In 1584-85 the villa was rebuilt by the court architect Bernardo Buontalenti. Compared to the other Medici villas, the appearance of Villa La Madjà is rather modest. The peculiarity of this villa was a square lake with a gazebo for fishing. In the seventeenth century, the Medici sold the villa, on which they subsequently created regular and English gardens. Later the villa belonged to various families, including the Ricasoli family. In 2005 the villa, now owned by the city of Cuarrata, was restored and modern art was exhibited in the park. The villa is now open to visitors as a museum.

Villa Artimino

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This villa is also called “Villa La Ferdinand”, or “the villa of a hundred fireplaces”.

It was built at the wish of Ferdinando I de’ Medici, who liked the place very much when he was hunting. The villa is actually in the middle of a huge Medici hunting reserve, enclosed by a 50-kilometer wall. It is a masterpiece by Bernardo Buontalenti, who by the time it was built was already in his old age and at the peak of his talent. In the architecture of the palace you can see stylistic elements of the other Medici villas, typical for the XV century. Domenico Passignano and Bernardino Poccetti took part in the decoration of the villa. Its interiors once housed works by Titian and Caravaggio, now transferred to museums. In the Hall of the Villas are the famous semi-circular paintings of 17 Medici villas (now copies) by the Flemish painter of the 16th and 17th centuries. Giusto Utens, depicting the villas from a bird’s-eye view.

The villa was seriously damaged during the 2nd World War, but has since been restored.

The villa is privately owned. Today it hosts congresses and events and has a hotel and restaurant. An Etruscan sanctuary was once located on the site of the villa’s Pagetian enclosure.

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