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Medici Villas and gardens recently become a part of World Heritage for UNESCO. Ten out of fourteen beautiful gardens are located in the province of Florence or very close to the city.

la villa di castello

 

In 2013 the "Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany" were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, a set of cultural heritage, of inestimable universal value, constitutive of the history of humanity.

 

The Medici villas, immersed in the Tuscan landscape, are a unique testimony of the cultural heritage left to us by the Medici family between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. The villas were used as holiday resorts. cultural otium, stopping points for travels and hunting trips, but also as headquarter of the surrounding agricultural estates; places that undoubtedly also had the role of representing the social status and hegemony on the territory achieved by this powerful family. Built in perfect harmony with the environment, embellished with beautiful gardens, works of art and innovative technological solutions, immediately represented a new model of princely residence, inspired by some fundamental principles of Humanism and the Renaissance.
It is possible to follow their evolution over the centuries: from the first ones in the Mugello countryside  (Cafaggiolo, Trebbio), with the appearance of medieval fortresses "softened" by Michelozzo on  behalf of Cosimo the Elder de' Medici, to those flourished in full humanistic climate (Poggio a Caiano and Fiesole) commissioned by Lorenzo the Magnificent, to those, then, enriched by the famous Italian style gardens (Castello, Petraia, Boboli) invented by Niccolò Tribolo for Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici; Buontalenti left a strong inprint on the villas of Pratolino and Cerreto,  commissioned by Francesco I; the villa "of the hundred fireplaces" in Artimino was the favourite one of  Ferdinand I, while the Grand Duchess Maria Maddalena of Austria and Vittoria della Rovere (respectively wives of Cosimo II and Ferdinando II) were responsible for the main interventions, in a neoclassical style, on Poggio Imperiale, the last Medici villa in chronological order.

 

Some of them are very  close to Florence city centre, such as the Villas of Petraia and Castello (regularly visible) and Careggi (momentarily closed). Two wonderful Medici gardens are: Boboli (in Florence, within the building complex of Palazzo Pitti) and Pratolino (Villa Demidoff, visible from April to October, about 20' minutes from Florence)

Other villas are in the Mugello area (a wonderful green area not far from Florence, northern Tuscany), where the Medici family came from: Villa del Trebbio (visible) and Cafaggiolo (momentarilty closed). During the time of the Grand Dukes (from mid-16th century), many other villas were built, such as Villa di Cerreto Guidi (visible), Villa Medici in Fiesole and the neoclassical Villa di Poggio Imperiale in Florence (both visible only on some occasions).

For further information about all the Medici Villas-Unesco Sites (not only near Florence, but in the whole region of Tuscany), please check the official website.

 

 

 

 

 
Published: 10/4/2019

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