Villa Fiesole In Italy

Villa Fiesole In Italy
Villa Fiesole In Italy

Video: Villa Fiesole In Italy

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Video: Belmond Villa San Michele, Fiesole, Italy 2023, February
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Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

The town itself was once an Etruscan settlement. For several centuries it was an independent city, no less powerful than the nearby Florence. During the Middle Ages, the inhabitants of the town were quite militant against their Florentine neighbors, which led to frequent clashes between the inhabitants of these cities. By 1125, the Florentines finally conquered, and at the same time destroyed Fiesole. But the vacant picturesque place was not empty for long. On its high hills, the best families of Florence built their villas, where they spent the hot summer months in philosophical reflection, and also sheltered from the plague and other epidemics that then visited the cities with enviable regularity. A sort of medieval ruble. And the XIV-XV centuries were marked by the active construction of country houses surrounded by gardens and, if necessary … vegetable gardens.

Currently, the most famous landmark is perhaps the Medici villa. Getting here is quite difficult. Streamed streets are very narrow and are interconnected by even narrower lanes, you can only go forward. If you make a mistake on the road, then returning to the starting point can take a long time. We, in spite of the Italian driver and the benefits of modern navigators, had to turn around 3 times and again look for the necessary lanes. But this suffering is worth the view that opens from the garden terraces.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

In this picturesque town soaring over the valley, Cosimo, the Elder of the famous Medici family, rulers of Florence, bought a villa in the middle of the 15th century for his son Giovanni, known for his love of art. The villa was built to replace the residential building that belonged to Niccolò Baldi.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

But what was bought did not suit the owner, and the villa was rebuilt by the architect of the Medici family Michelozzo. Giovanni was the beloved son of Cosimo the Elder for his lively mind and marked penchant for art, and can be considered the predecessor of Lorenzo the Magnificent, his nephew. His many interests included collecting rare books, works of art (he was an important client of Filippo Lippi), and a passion for architecture. He personally chose a place on a hillside for the building of the villa, from where a beautiful panorama opened up, which contradicted all the architectural principles of that time. Defensive and military elements are already completely absent. The garden is located on multi-level, relatively small terraces, which made it one of the most striking examples of a Renaissance villa and an example for subsequent buildings.This is one of the oldest Renaissance gardens, perched on a steep hillside above Florence, offering incredible views of the city.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Giovanni chose a location on a very steep slope, which was contrary to all the principles of the time. A large terrace had to be built to support the building and the hillside garden. The exterior of the villa was very different from the early Medici villas, and is in some way a prototype of an early Renaissance building, strongly geometric, open from the outside and without a central courtyard, so much so that it is considered the predecessor of Poggio Caiano's villa. The design of the building brilliantly solved the problem of the slope, thanks to the distribution of rooms over several levels: the lower one is used as cellars, stables, wine cellar, etc., the upper floor was intended for the owners themselves, with rooms, a library and even a music salon. Thus, what appeared to be the first floor of the upper level was actually the second floor of the building,with a great view.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Michelozzo built two terraces: the first extends from the frescoed loggia along the eastern façade and can be accessed from the second floor of the villa.

At the request of Giovanni Medici, the agricultural component was reduced in favor of a complete commitment to relaxation, contemplation and physical inactivity, which favored intellectual activity. In fact, this was the first time that a rural residence was equipped with a garden rather than surrounded by an agricultural estate. Combined with the lack of military structures, these features make the villa one of the most striking prototypes of the Renaissance villa.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Giovanni Medici had no children, and before his death he presented this landscape masterpiece to his young nephew Giuliano Medici.

Villa Medici is associated with the dramatic fact of bloodshed during the Pazzi conspiracy (1478), when some members of the Pazzi family, together with Francesco Salviati and Cardinal Girolamo Riario, with the support of Pope Sixtus IV, conspired to get rid of the growing consolidation of the Medici power in the Florentine Republic.

The original plan called for the murder of two descendants of the Medici family, Lorenzo and Giuliano, during a banquet they hosted at Villa Fiesole on April 25, using poison that Jacopo de Pazzi and Riario put into one of the Medici bottles. But the sudden illness of Giuliano disrupted all the plans of the poisoners, the event was postponed the next day, during the mass in Santa Maria del Fiore, Giuliano was killed, and Lorenzo managed to escape by hiding in the sacristy.

When Giuliano died, his older brother inherited the villa. Lorenzo the Magnificent lived mainly in Careggi, but he also loved Fiesole and met here with philosophers and other creative intelligentsia of the artistic and literary direction of the Renaissance.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

However, everything changes, and Cosimo III, shortly after taking over the leadership of Florence, sold the villa in 1671 to Vincenzo del Sera for four thousand florins. This period dates back to an increase in the volume of the villa on the west side, as evidenced by documents describing the furnishings, gardens and the modern western loggia, which at that time was a terrace.

The subsequent owners were the Borgherini family (from 1722 to 1768), who sold the villa to the Albergotti family in 1771. It was later acquired by Lady Margaret Orford, daughter-in-law of Horace Walpole, the English envoy, in 1772. She commissioned the architect Niccolò Gaspero Paoletti to enlarge the upper garden and build a lemon house (as the citrus greenhouse was called in those days). In 1781, the villa came into the possession of the Mozzi family, and then was sold to a family of aristocrats from Siena, who owned it until 1862. During this period, an access road was created, which moved the entrance from Via Fiesolana to Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, with a subsequent change in the role and meaning of the facades, the eastern facade becomes the front one.

Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the villa lived in its Anglo-American period with such owners as the painter William Blundell Spence (from 1862 to 1897), then Lady Sybil Cutting (widow of William Bayard Cutting and mother of future writer Iris Origo), who married the writer Geoffrey Scott (1909-1911) and, again, McCulmans (1911-1959); All these owners did not change the layout of the estate, except for small distribution and decorative variations. In 1959, the villa was acquired by the current owners - the Mazzini Marchi family.

The garden today reflects, above all, a reconstruction from 1911-1923 by the architect Cecil Pincent, who worked for Lady Cutting in the neo-Renaissance style. It is located on three terraces at different levels.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Alleys with cypresses lead to the first terrace. Framed upstream by a bare oak grove, the garden consists of large rectangular grassy beds with large old trees in the center, and lemon trees in terracotta pots at the edges from mid-spring to fall. At the very top is a long row of slightly raised flower beds with roses. The noble style of the villa matches this terrace.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

The second terrace is located in front of the rear façade of the building and can be reached via an internal staircase. This is the least modified section of the garden with large magnolias, adorned with flower beds surrounded by boxwood hedges, with a fountain in the center.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

The third terrace adjoins the first, but is located 11-12 meters lower. The decoration was done during the renovation by Pincent. Wisteria adorns the railing of the staircase that leads to a circular fountain, from which, in turn, hedges with geometric boxwood patterns emerge, each with magnolia growing in the center. Next to the gazebo are two long symmetrical beds with aromatic herbs, located at the level of the parapet.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole. Wisteria
Villa Fiesole. Wisteria

Villa Fiesole. Wisteria

Villa Fiesole. Wisteria
Villa Fiesole. Wisteria

Villa Fiesole. Wisteria

Villa Fiesole. Wisteria
Villa Fiesole. Wisteria

Villa Fiesole. Wisteria

On the upper 19th century level, there is a row of cypress trees, ending in a large stone urn.

The garden of the villa is saturated with water surfaces and is lit by the sun almost all day. This creates an almost unique microclimate for long-term flowering of plants.

The terrace was originally small flowerbeds with grasses and flowers, but nowadays you can see square lawns with lemon trees in pots. The terrace, enclosed by a low brick wall, offers views of Florence and the Arno Valley. The second terrace Michelozzo created on the ground floor level to the west of the villa. Initially, there is a vegetable garden here, which was very convenient due to its proximity to the kitchen.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

In 1915, the English architect Cecil Pincent, who became famous in the narrow circles of villa owners, carried out its reconstruction. In the middle, he created a pool surrounded by four lawns, and in the center of each he planted a magnolia. He also renovated the lower of the two south-facing terraces. Having displaced several modern flower beds, he demolished the greenhouse opposite the retaining wall, and in its place, around the circular pool, he placed parterres and lawns of the correct shape. In place of the greenhouse, a covered alley has appeared, connecting two garden terraces with a third, to the west of the villa.

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole
Villa Fiesole

Villa Fiesole

And yet, despite its incredible beauty and being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is not the most popular tourist destination from all over the world. So, part of the villa belongs to the hotel, and the villa is privately owned, it is not so easy to visit the building, but the gardens of the villa are open to visitors, but only by prior arrangement and during the absence of the owners. This is perhaps the particular beauty of the villa. By definition, crowds of people do not get there, only small groups that are launched in turn. This is not such a big masterpiece of Renaissance gardening art and would not have withstood the great anthropogenic load.

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