Abbadia d'Ombrone

Abbazia di Vallombrosa

Villa Arceno

Bardini Garden in Florence

Bernard Berenson

Boboli's Gardens

Il parco dei Mostri di Bomarzo

Villa Bottini

Castello di Brolio

Villa Cahen

Villa della Capponcina

Villa Capponi

Villa Medici at Careggi

Villa di Catignano

Cecil Ross Pinsent

Castello di Celsa

Villa Certano Baldassarrini

Certosa di Pontignano

Villa di Cetinale

Villa Chigi Saracini

Villa Farnese (Caprarola)

Gardens in Fiesole

Villa Gamberaia

Villa Garzoni in Collodi

Villa di Geggiano

Villa Grabau

Villa Guicciardini Corsi Salviati

Horti Leonini di San Quirico

Villa I Collazzi, Firenze

Iris Origo

L'Orto de'Pecci (Siena)

Villa I Tatti

Villa Medicea La Ferdinanda

Villa La Foce

Villa La Gallina in Arcetri

Villa Lante

Villa La Petraia

Villa La Pietra

Villa La Suverana in Casole d'Elsa

The Medici Villa at Careggi

Villa Medici in Fiesole, Firenze

Garden of Palazzo Medici-Riccardi in Firenze

Villa Medicea at Poggio a Caiano

Medici Villas in Tuscany

Villa di Monaciano

Giardino degli Orti Oricellari | Firenze

Orto Botanico, Siena

Villa Orlandini in Poggio Torselli

Il Palazzone

Villa Palmieri and Villa Schifanoiai

Villa Peyron al Bosco di Fontelucente

Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza

Villa di Pratolino

Villa Reale di Marlia

Villa San Donato in Colle (Bagno a Ripoli)

Villa Santini Torrigiani

Villa di Vicobello

Villa Vistarenni

Il Vittoriale degli Italiani

Gardens in Tuscany

Villa Bottini, ex Buonvisi "al giardino"


Villa Bottini


The Villa Buonvisi "al giardino", apart from being one of the most beautiful in the Lucchesia, played a very important part in Lucchese Architecture. Many villas were modelled on its composition plans and, in addition, it would seem that it was the model of the "ideal villa", outlined in Sanminiati treatise on the subject.
The plan for the villa is rectangular and comprises a basement, a raised floor, a floor above of a substantially lower height, and a central elevation with a loggia. At the back of the building on the raised floor there is a portico which gives access to the hall.
Wide openings, the play on symmetry and proportion among the architectural elements, give the villa a pleasant and harmonious lightness which is rarely found in other Lucchese villas. The vaults in the hall and those of the portico were frescoed by Ventura Salimbeni. The influence of Raffaello della Farnesina is visible in their realisation. These frescoes are the only remaining evidence of 16th century internal decoration among the Lucchese villas. Neoclassic decoration was added to the villa in the 1800's under the ownership of Princess Baciocchi. The entrance doors to the garden are noteworthy, in a bulky style decisively different from that of the building.
The entrance door to the nymphaeum, the first example of serliana in the Lucchese villas, has an ingenious and original composition. The columns are made alternating between rough and smooth material and have two statues of rivers on top, which, in their disposition, simulate the shape of a divided tympanum.

The villa was built in 1566 out with the surrounding medieval walls , in a zone cultivated with fruit and vegetables. Salimbeni's frescos found inside the villa, were started in 1593, and so the construction of the building must have been completed in that period. The authorship of the building's architecture and garden is much debated. Belli Barsali sustains that three architects worked on the villa: a non-identified architect for the building, Buontalenti on the entrance door to the nymphaeum, and Vincenzo Civitali on the entrance doors to the garden. Venturi had noted Ammannati's influence in the realisation of the front entrance and in the window of the surrounding wall. M. A. Giusti has attributed these works to Ammannati himself based on a design showing an example of a divided tympanum similar to the one in the villa. In addition, Guisti reputes that the realisation of the villa in its completeness is to be attributed to a collaboration between Ammannati and Vincenzo Civitali.

Villa is Tuscany

Artist and writer's residency | Holiday houses in Tuscany | Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia, view from the garden
on the valley below

Villa Santini Torrigiani



Villa Orlandini in Poggio Torselli

Villa I Tatti, near Settignano, outside Florence
Castello Torre Alfina

The Villa Torrigiani is located in the hamlet of Camigliano, a town in Capannori (Lucca). It is a luxurious and beautiful historical villa, dating from the second half of the sixteenth century.
The first mention of the villa dates back to 1593, as belonging to the Buonvisi family. It was bought later by Nicola Santini, into whose family it passed. He rebuilt the south facade in the Baroque style at the end of the seventeenth century, probably in imitation of the architecture of Versailles where he was ambassador to the Republic of Lucca. The rebuilding involved the addition of two wings to the villa, and the modification of the front by the addition of a massive scale range leading to a serliana, duplicated on the upper floor with two balconies, decorated with statues. He also laid out new gardens. At the front, parterres were arranged around two pools. At the rear, a fountain was built as the focus of the garden, and another sunken 'garden of Flora' was laid out to the east.

Villa Poggio Torselli, near San Casciano Val di Pesa, is one of the largest and most elegant residences in the area of the San Casciano Hills, near Florence. Known in the past as the “queen of all villas”, it appeared on record as early as 1427 bearing the name of “Poggio Torselli”.
It was the property of some of the most remarkable patrician families in Tuscany: Macchiavelli, Corsini, Strozzi, Antonori, Capponi and Orlandini, who owned the villa until 1722.

The Palazzo Mediceo di Seravezza is a site that recalls many themes tied to technology. On order of Cosimo I de’ Medici, it was built between 1560 and 1564 by Bartolomeo Ammannati or, as recently argued for the resemblance of several architectural elements with the Villa of Artimino, by a young Bernardo Buontalenti. The building was erected in an area particularly important for extracting minerals and quarrying marble from Monte Altissimo. The sovereign was thus able to have a close-up picture of the extracting activity which he himself had relaunched. On many occasions, the palazzo hosted the grand duke and duchess who loved to spend summers here. Peter Leopold of Lorraine reserved part of the rooms for the warehouses and administrative offices of an ironworks, still visible beside the palazzo, and built around 1786 along the torrent Ruosina. In 1835, on closing the ironworks, the villa returned to be a holiday spot for the grand-ducal family. With the Unification of Italy, it was transferred to the State, which in 1864 gave it to the Commune of Seravezza. Today, after serving first as a penitentiary and then as Town Hall, the building hosts various cultural organisations including, on the second floor, the Museum of Work and Folk Traditions in Historical Versilia.
Open to the public as of 1996, the Museum was instituted by the Town Council of Seravezza in 1980 to trace back and illustrate the production activities of the area and their historical evolution. A particularly important source, thanks to the quarries of Monte Altissimo, the marble industry is documented with a series of utensils, machines and machine models that illustrate the techniques of quarrying, transporting and milling, practised in the area. The exhibition of several tools utilised in ironworks and craftsmen’s workshops also illustrates two other important activities of Medici Versilia: mining, which has an ancient origin, and ironworking. Finally, objects tied to domestic activities are also exhibited, such as weaving and various kinds of farming equipment, used both in the mountains and on the plains. The collection is accompanied by an abundance of photographs and cards illustrating the function of the various objects on show. The work tools can be dated from the late 18th century to the mid 20th century.
Adress: Seravezza, Via del Palazzo 358

Villa Ada in Bagni di Lucca | Villa Ada in Bagni di Lucca is the result of a 19th century intervention on late renaissance structures. It has an irregular plan as more buildings were added to its structure over the course of time. The two high, hexagonal towers, which give the villa its characteristic appearance, were added in the 1800's.
A wide portico opens at the base of the central hexagonal tower, while on the upper floors, there are balconies with arched window-doors. The windows, decorated with grey stone cornices, are arranged in regular intervals on the façade, which is ochre in colour. The entrance to the villa, with its great glass windows, the stairs and marble floors, is the most magnificent part of the building.
The garden, which has lots of ground, is of romantic taste. The long avenue which gives access to the villa, unwinds into a wood where particular garden furnishings were realised. In addition to the artificial grottos in calcareous stone, there still remains traces of the arbours i.e. architectural structures entirely composed of laurel plants, which formed a roof of branches and leaves over some stone chairs . The garden paths had interesting wrought iron railings, which reproduced shapes of entwined branches. Some pieces still remain in a zone of the lower part of the park which is accessed with difficulty. A terrace is accessed by way of the villa, which looks out onto
a noteworthy panorama of the valley. From here, a footpath leads to a pergola which then continues onto a dark, artificial grotto on a route whose aim it was to offer the visitor the emotions given by different picturesque views.
The building is mentioned in the cadastral survey in the archives of the Bagni di Lucca local district council in 1558. In 1622, the property appeared to belong to the same owners, the inheritors of Cesare de Nobili, along with a bigger edifice bordering the first one. In 1710, as seen on an incision by Terreni, the two buildings were joined together to form one palace.
In 1870, the villa passes to MacBean, the British consule in Livorno. He is responsible for the restructuring of the north wing of the building, adding on the two hexagonal towers, and the layout of the garden. The park was originally bigger in size, but the realisation of the communal swimming baths reduced its extension.

The valley of the Serchio | From Lucca, after crossing Ponte a Moriano, thanks to the two roads that run parallel along the banks of the Serchio river, State Road 12 and the "Ludovica" Provincial road - named by Carlo Ludovico di Borbone, who had it realised so as to have a more rapid connection with Bagni alla Villa (today called Bagni di Lucca) - we penetrate into the Valley of the Serchio across verdant hills, deep gorges, arid vast plains broken up by ancient villages that maintain their charm intact.
The first of these, Borgo a Mozzano, is located just before the Ponte della Maddalena, an incredible, magnificent medieval structure, the true symbol of the valley, known also as the Ponte del Diavolo because of the legend regarding its origins. The Castle of Mozzano was cited for the first time in documents in 1180, as the property of the Soffredinghi family, feudal lords. Conquered by Lucca in the following century, it progressively became one of the most important towns of the valley. The oldest portion of the village is divided around medieval palaces, several of which belonged to illustrious families such as the Castracana and Guinigi. The parish church of S. Jacopo has a imposing tower; in its interior, there is a baptismal font of 1590, various 16 th c. sacred furnishings, and groups by the Della Robbia school. Also worthy of note is the Convent of S. Francesco, with the lovely baroque church and elegant 16th-c. cloister. Manifestations of a certain importance, such as the April Azalea Biennial, an exhibit-market for flower nurseries, are held at Borgo a Mozzano; the Norwegian Codfish Festival is organised everv May I" in the hamlet of Anchiano, in collaboration with the Norwegian city of Aalesund.
Once across the Serchio, along State Road 12, we reach Bagni di Lucca, an ancient little spa town, noted in documents ever since 1284 and located at the confluence of the Lima torrent with the Serchio river. Located at only 152 m a.s.l. among the mountains of the Tosco-Ernilian Apennines, this health resort is considered a genuine oasis because of its mild climate and the cordiality of its inhabitants. Bagni di Lucca knew a period of great magnificence during the 1911 century, when Carlo Ludovico di Borbone - an assiduous frequenter of the "bagni" attracted important people there. There were numerous presences from all over Europe: Byron, Shelley, Heine, Lamartine, Robert and Elisabeth B. Browning, Alexandre Dumas, Strauss, Liszt. Politicians kings and queens, and even Popes arrived there from Italy. Traces of this glorious period can be found in the monuments connected with the life of the baths, such as the Church, the English Cemetery, the Dernidoff hospital, the Ponte delle Catene, the work of Nottolini, which connected the territory in the north of the Commune with that of Borgo a Mozzano, the Casino, where people played roulette for the first time in Europe; and the Foreigners' Club. Magnificent churches and Romanesque parish churches abound in the nearby villages of Benabbio, S. Pietro a Corsena, Vicopancellorum, Casabasciana, S. Cassiano di Controne, and Montefegatesi. Behind Bagni di Lucca and beyond Montefegatesi looms Orrido di Botri, the sheer walls of which form a profound canyon crossed by the Marianna torrent.
From Orrido, we descend again towards Coreglia Antelminelli. An ancient feud of the Rolandinghi family, lords of the southern Garfagnana, it was transformed into a stronghold by the Antelminelli family of Ghivizzano. The central nucleus of Coreglia still partially pre serves the appearance of a medieval fortress. The two Romanesque churches of S. Martino (9th c.) and S. Michele (12"' c.), the imposing bell tower (11th c.), and the Fort arc of a certain value. Coreglia deserves a visit even if only to see the very unusual Museum of Plaster of Paris Figurines and Emigration, housed in beautiful Palazzo Vanni, which exhibits the history and activity of the figurine makers: emigrant-artisans of these climes have handed down the art of plaster of Paris from father to son, to our day. Busts of Greek and Roman philosophers, kings, emperors, mythological personages, and the great celebrities of music, art and literature; reproductions of animals: there are thousands of examples on exhibit in the Museum. The usage of working plaster of Paris originated at Coreglia Antelminelli between the 16'" and 17'" centuries. Since then, this activity has assumed morc and more importance, to the point of becoming the main occupation of the local population. There thus began this phenomenon of mass emigration that was inseparably linked to the production and peddling of these figurines that occurred only within the limited geographical area of the valley of the Serchio and of the Val di Lima. Returning along Regionale, in a very short time we reach Barga. Located at the centre of the valley of the Serchio, Barga still has the appearance of a very lovely medieval village with narrow winding streets. The steep Via del Pretorio leads to the Cathedral, which is dedicated to Saints Jacopo and Cristoforo.
The primitive construction is previous to the year 1000; Romanesque is evident in the capitals and in the architraves sculpted in a single block of stone and abounding in medieval symbols. Above the side door is the most famous frieze, called Agape, which is attributed to Biduino. inside, there are the very fine sculptures of the pulpit, rich in marble inlays, attributed to Guido Bigarelli, a sculptor frorn Como (ca. 13"' c.). Noteworthy are the Della Robbian terra-cottas that decorate the Chapel of the Sacrament.
In the vicinity of Barga, at Castelvecchio Pascoli, there is the house where Giovanni Pascoli lived from 1895 to 1912. The poet chose this place because of the beauty of the landscape. He is buried here, in the chapel adjacent to the villa. In the house there is a collection of manuscripts, diplomas, and books that belonged to the poet. Every September, the Pascoli Readings, which are then published in the "Quaderni Pascoliani", are held in Barga. To be noted are its numerous cultural and folklore manifestations, among which the charming Living Creche, realised in December in the town's historic centre.
The last Commune of the Media Valle is Fabbriche di Vallico, situated on the opposite part of the Serchio with respect to Barga, in the Nature Park of the Apuan Alps, in the midst of woods and chestnuts groves, close to a large artificial lake. The history of this village is linked to the transfer from Bergamo of a numerous colony of blacksmiths, who settled in the area around the 14th c. Among the buildings we can recall the Church of S. Jacopo and, at Vallico Sotto, the architectural complex that leads to Piazza della Chiesa, with its stupendous triptych of the Madonna con Bambino e Santi; while at Vallico Sopra, there is the Romanesque church of S. Michele.