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 di Monaciano


Villa di Monaciano


Records of this villa date back to the 18th century, but the present appearance is the result of a general conversion scheme for the entire property carried out between around 1870 and 1885, when the property belonged to Alessandro Pucci Sansedoni, a Sienese nobleman resident in Florence.

In keeping with the general spirit of stylistic renewal typical of Florence at that time, Sansedoni constructed a quite innovative villa and garden complex, relocating the access road, demolishing the old walls that once surrounded the garden and creating a romantic park in the style that was gradually becoming popular in Florence under the guidance of architect Poggi and of the Pucci family of gardeners. It is not known who designed the villa, which, in terms of the architectural culture it expresses, seems quite far removed from the Sienese tradition, having more in common with significant examples of Florentine architecture in the second half of the 19th century. The building, which spreads over three floors, has a façade divided into three parts by pilaster strips; three entrance portals open up in the central part, which is rusticated on the ground floor level. A double string-course draws attention to the piano nobile, which has at its centre three arched french doors flanked at either side by two windows topped by classical tympana; all these openings are clad in serena stone. The park occupies approximately three hectares of land, which slopes in front of the villa and extends out both to the south and to the west of the villa and is closed off to the south by a boundary wall. It is divided into more or less two parts: the first is a flower garden, to the south and on the higher ground; the second, lower down, is a romantic park comprising extensive wooded areas crossed by winding paths along which unexpected views open up, with the villa providing the backdrop to the panorama. The layout here is in true "English style", with an alternation of full, leafy woods and large, open clearings. Just a few species of trees, mostly evergreens, are planted in the park: mainly holm-oaks, but also a large Lebanon cedar, and some horse chestnuts, oaks and also palm trees. One of the most characterising features of the garden is water: there are various fountains, water effects on some of the structures and most especially, a nymphaeum. This latter feature, known also as the Laghetto della Venere, or "Lake of Venus", has two spongestone grottoes underneath and a rocky section in the centre with a sculpture of a "bather", from whose feet water issues forth. The park also contains a large brick and cast-iron aviary, a lemon-house with an extensive collection of large citrus trees, and a rare kind of hothouse with a heating system that is still fully functioning. The construction of the hothouse, records of which date back to 1881, occupies a prominent position in the garden, which probably explains why it survived a succession of renovation and transformation processes. A testimony to the Pucci Sansedoni's great interest in botany (he was an honorary member of the Royal Tuscan Horticultural Society), it is of particular interest since it is the only large structure of its kind in the area. Inside, exotic plants - including a collection of begonias, ferns, orchids and anthurium - are still grown and tended by an expert gardener. At the moment both the villa and the park are being restored and the spaces currently considered as separate and less important are being redesigned, so as to form a highly attractive and integral part of the garden. Attention is being focused in particular on that area situated in the lower part of the park known as the galoppatoio, or race-course. This space has been chosen for the future creation of a teatro di verzura, or outdoor theatre: the decision is a particularly happy one in that it recreates a typical feature of the Tuscan historical garden, adapting to the morphology and purpose of the place.

A drawing by the artist Ettore Romagnoli dating from1835 attests to the fact that there was a garden annex to the Villa in the eighteenth century but was actually put in place during the middle part of the century when the building was completely modified by the nobleman Alessandro Pucci Sansedoni. The owner constructed a new villa and romantic garden complex in the innovative spirit of the styles pervading Florence at the time.

The park was designed and constructed over a period of many years by the owner in the heart of Tuscany in the Chianti country side at the doorsteps of Siena. Thanks to a recent restoration and conservation initiative, the garden has been returned to its original splendor without additions and intrusive modifications, typical to restoration projects. Behind the garden project, one can still experience the original inspiration and design of the eighteenth century noble owner, who actively participated in the farm’s management possessing botanical, territorial and agricultural knowledge.

The park is divided approximately into two parts: the first part, on the higher end, is dedicated to decorative flowers; the second part, at the lower end, is the heart of the romantic park, with large forested spaces alternating with curved walkways that spontaneously open up onto surprising new views and paths, created to enchant visitors at every turn.

The landscaping of the garden is based on the English style where full green spaces alternate with empty open spaces, forests offset by clearings. The romantic park is made up of evergreen high-standing trees such as Holm oak trees, a large Lebanese Cedar, as well as horse chestnut, oak and palm trees.

Other significant elements of the garden include stone fixtures and sculptures strategically positioned, guiding one’s gaze towards the immense panorama where the historical Villa emerges among the Tuscan hillside completing the scene. The garden was designed as a place of contemplation, relaxation, and place for collection and harvest for the original owners of the villa. Such purposes, both eclectic and domestic, have ensured that spectacular and extraordinary aspects be highlighted. The most noteworthy are: the heated green house, the Lemon house, the Aviary, the Water Lily Pond, Venus’s Grotto, the temple, water fountains and other wonders interspersed with flowering hedges, forests and pathways.




Gardens in Tuscany | Italian villas and their gardens

Immersed in the green Tuscan countryside, in a peaceful area a few kilometres from Montalcino, Podere Santa Pia is one of the best places for slow traveling in Tuscany. This formal cloister offers the quiet tranquility of a private retreat, with numerous attractions, beautiful nature reserves and beautiful beaches within easy reach.
Podere Santa Pia is situated in a distinctive location where green wooded hillsides give way to entirely different surroundings known as the Tuscan Maremma. The countryside is both lunar and sublime. The hillsides are decorated with sunflowers, wheat fields and fragrant pastures as well as numerous impressive vineyards.

Artist and writer's residency in Tuscany | Podere Santa Pia


Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia, view from the garden
on the valley below

L'Orto de'Pecci

Villa Saracini

Colle di Val d'Elsa

Villa Arceno
A long road lined with cypress trees leads up to the ancient manor house, dating back to the 1600s.

San Gimignano,
view from Rocca di Montestaffoli

Colle di Val d'Elsa

Villa di Geggiano | The original installation of Geggiano Villa dates back to 1530. Around 1768, in the occasion of the wedding of Anton Domenico Bianchi Bandinelli with Cecilia Chigi, Malavolti widow, the building was completely transformed in a grand villa with a garden surrounded by a wall and with a greenery theatre. Vittorio Alfi eri, who stayed for short periods at the villa, acted some of his tragedies just in the greenery theatre. In its splendour times the villa has been frequented by Montale, Saba, Guttuso and Stendhal. Recently the villa gave hospitality to the set of the movie "Stealing beauty".

Villa Celsa was built as a defensive stronghold of the Republic of Siena and has in fact maintained the form of a castle, even though the southern tower is the sole original element left. In the 16t century, Mino Celsi commissioned Baldassarre Peruzzi to transform the ancient castle in a villa. Peruzzi designed the round chapel at the end of the approach to the villa.
After having been destroyed in 1554 by Charles V`s army, the complex was restored in the 17th century. At the same time, works began for the realisation of a grand Baroque garden, which was then left unfinished. The Chigi family acquired the villa in 1802 and transformed it into a Neo-gothic manor-house, whereas at the beginning of the 20th century the Aldobrandini family had both the building and the garden renovated. Topiary has been largely used in the garden: the box hedges in eight flower borders have been cut so as to reproduce the coat of arm of the Aldobrandini family, whereas the cypress hedges have been modelled in the form of undulated parapets. The fish-pond is decorated with statues representing sea deities and dragons on a spongy background, whereas a porous stone niche at the end of one of the paths leading to the fish-pond is decorated with a marble bas-relief representing Jesus` birth.

Villa a Sesta is a typical and picturesque Chianti village with a prevalent rural economy, located on the route to Brolio. Until the middle of IX century it was a Berardenga Counts possession. In 1882 its incomes were given to S.Salvatore in Campi Abbey, which is Berardenga's. The Church of S. Mary in Villa a Sesta is mentioned since VIII century as dependent on Pieve of San Felice. The current building anyway came out from a complete re-building and following transformations date back to XIX century. On the side-altars, inside the respective chapels, there are the Jacopo della Quercia Madonna con bambino wood statue and a Santa Caterina painting, which dates back to XVIII century.

Villa di Catignano | The villa of Catignano was built supposedly due to the initiative of Lodovico Sergardi, noted humanitarian known also by the pseudonym Quinti Settano (1660 - 1726). The villa has a rectangular layout, which develops, on three continuous levels, with a small extension that suggests an L shape. With regards to the interior, note the entrance hall on the ground fl oor, characterised by three stone columns that support an entablature with the coat of arms of the Sergardi family. On the first fl oor are rooms with painted architectural features, decorated attics and beam supports in wood and plaster. The Italian style garden, accessed by two fl ights of steps, is divided into three sections: the first is characterized by a series of ornate fl owerbeds and spherical box hedges, the second is made up of a vegetable garden and apple orchard and the third presents a maze formed by box hedges. The chapel of Santa Croce is dated 1697. Rich decorative props characterize the internal walls. On the far wall and altar is the sculptured representation of the story of the True Cross.

Badia Monastero was built to remind the 15th February 867 deed, when Count Winigis and his wife Richilda founded the women monastery of Santi Salvatore e Alessandro di Fontebuona a Campi. Later named San Salvatore della Berardenga. The monastery probably declined and was re-founded in 1003; this time it was given to a Benedictine male community. For the first time in 1028, it is mentioned as part of Camaldoli congregation. In XIV century the Abbey started to decline. Since early 1800 it is not a monastery anymore. Monastery and connected outhouses are currently used as villa and farmhouse. At the North-Western corner of the complex there is a cylindrical tower, re-built over the original one in Neo-gothic style. On the villa Eastern side there is a wooden bridge that leads to the garden. On the villa left side stands a Romanic imposing bell tower in Lombard style with a squared plan. At the opposite side there is the S. Salvatore Church, which is mentioned since monastery foundation.

Villa Chigi a Vicobello is certainly the most important example of Renaissance residence in the province of Siena. Baldassarre Peruzzi designed the villa during the 16th century by order of the Chigi-Zondadari family. The terraced garden is the most valuable element in the domain. A lot of staircases connect the various terraces; every terrace bears the name of the plants that are cultivated in it: we therefore have the "giardino dei limoni" (the garden of lemons), the "pomario" (the fruit orchard), the "giardino delle azalee" (the garden of azaleas) and the so-called "pratini" - terrace with meadows and flower-beds.
Particularly important is the so-called "giardino botanico" (botanical garden): in the 16th century, this part of the park was merely a vegetable garden, but during the 20th century Bonaventura Chigi Zondadari planted here numerous exotic plants, such as a ginkgo biloba and a cedar of Lebanon.
In the park, there ar

Villa Cetinale in Sovicille. Architect Carlo Fontana, disciple of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, built the impressive Villa Cetinale between 1676 and 1678 by order of Cardinal Flavio Chigi, who wanted to celebrate the ascension of Fabio Chigi to the papal throne with the name of Alexander VII.
The magnificent villa, which the Chigi family always used only as a private residence and not as a place where to entertain guests, is a great example of baroque architecture. Architect Fontana may have designed also the garden spreading out behind the building, which was once decorated with plenty of plays of water, fountains and false ruins. In 1687 Giuseppe Mazzuoli sculptured the enormous statue representing Hercules situated in the lower part of the garden.
The so-called parco della Tebaide (Thebaid park) was realised between 1698 and 1705. The word Thebaid was used to indicated the Egyptian desert, where the 3rd-century hermits led an ascetic existence. It is rumoured that Flavio Chigi ordered this part of the wood surrounding Villa Cetinale be decorated with statues representing saints and hermits and commissioned the construction of the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows as a means to atone for his sins, especially the murder of a love rival.
Two hundred steps - the so-called Scala Santa (Saint Staircase) - lead to the Romitorio, a building added in 1716, where twelve friars live for a long time.

Villa L`Apparita. Count Mario Nerucci bought Villa L`Apparita at the beginning of the 19th century. The villa had originally belonged to the Placidi and then to the Bandinelli families. A portico formed by two orders of four full-centre arches attributed to architect Baldassarre Peruzzi characterises the simple structure of the country villa.
The garden of the villa was designed by Pietro Porcinai and realised between 1963 and 1966. In this case, the architect took advantage of the land morphology to hide the approach to the villa and the car park. Most of the plants in the garden are of local origin: lavender, broom, strawberry, pomegranate and olive trees and cypresses are planted without following any precise scheme. In the garden has been realised an open-air theatre.

Brolio Castle Majestic and huge, the Brolio Castle evolves over 1200 hectares of green vineyards, refreshing olive groves and dark woody forests of oak. Picturesque and perfect in its setting, the countryside unravels its beautiful farmhouses that punctuate the landscape with Siena seen in the hazy horizon. This beautiful scenery is reflected in a painting by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the 1300s which is placed at the Town Hall of Siena.
The original structure formed a pentagon with huge walls and towers. Depicted as a fortress with bastion walls, the Brolio Castle was one of the first forms of fortresses to be built. Well preserved with a high scarp wall at the base, the embrasures at different levels are intriguing and interesting. As the Ricasoli family lived there over the decades, the 19th century saw the Castle Brolio as the sanctuary of Bettino Ricasoli, the 'iron baron', who was a statesman and played an important role in the forming of the Republic of Italy. As an interesting fact, it was Bettino Ricasoli who defined the standard and the composition of the famous Chianti wine. He was an accomplished agronomist besides being a great statesman. During his time the castle saw the introduction of the Sienese neo-gothic architecture which was the style at that time. Built at the top of the hill, the castle of Brolio was structured to defend the Republic of Florence against the Ghibelline army of Siena.
The name of the Brolio Castle is derived from the Longobardo term for an enclosed green space or orchard, 'Brolo'. With a watch tower, the fortress was transformed into a manor built in the romantic English style. Introduced by the Baron Bettino Ricasoli in 1835, the 'Gothic revival' was animated with brick that was so different from any other castle of that time. This ancient fortress was structured with Tudor windows and crenallated turrets built with a new type of stone called 'mattone' and pietra serena. Brolio Castle is a standing example of the various periods that evolved over the ages. The base of the castle reflects the early medieval structure and its walls are reminiscent of the Renaissance architecture and style.


Montepulciano, San Biagio
Certosa del Galluzzo (Firenze)
Villa I Tatti