Villa La Foce In Italy

Villa La Foce In Italy
Villa La Foce In Italy

Video: Villa La Foce In Italy

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Video: Italian Gardens - Villa La Foce, Val d'Orcia, Tuscany 2023, February
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Unfortunately, this fabulous place is little known not only among tourists, but also among connoisseurs of landscape architecture. Although Italians are well aware of this corner of Southern Tuscany. In this country, it is customary to leave hot and stuffy cities in summer and rush closer to nature, that is, higher into the mountains, where the air is cleaner, and you can pamper yourself with traditional and environmentally friendly gastronomy.

Villa and Hotel La Foce is located on the hills overlooking Val d'Orcia, a beautiful and surprisingly unspoilt valley in southern Tuscany. Val D'Orcia was recently included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, which means that this is not just a beautiful corner, it also has a number of unique features, both natural and historical.

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The village of La Foce is known as a settlement from the time of the Etruscans; on the territory of the villa, a burial was even discovered dating back to the 7th century BC. (up to the 2nd century AD). All finds were transferred to the Chianchiano Archaeological Museum.

It was a village that has existed for centuries and has grown in importance thanks to the nearby road to Rome - the historic Via Francigena. Indeed, the geographical position of this place is very advantageous, including from the point of view of modern rural tourism.

The villa is located halfway between Florence and Rome, within easy reach of Siena, Arezzo, Perugia, Assisi and Orvieto, while medieval and Renaissance gems such as Pienza, Montepulciano, Monticello and Montalcino are just a few kilometers away.

Villa La Foce. View from the parterre
Villa La Foce. View from the parterre

Villa La Foce. View from the parterre

Villa La Foce. Family coat of arms on the facade
Villa La Foce. Family coat of arms on the facade

Villa La Foce. Family coat of arms on the facade

Villa La Foce. Aubriet on the retaining wall
Villa La Foce. Aubriet on the retaining wall

Villa La Foce. Aubriet on the retaining wall

The countryside is replete with small farms, where famous Tuscan wines such as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino are born on unique hills and in a unique climate, and these masterpieces can be enjoyed with the delights of Italian cuisine.

The Villa itself, which is now used for weddings, celebrations, events, family celebrations, etc., was built at the end of the 15th century (or rather in 1498) by order of the then famous Sienese monastery of Santa Maria della Scala as a haven for pilgrims and merchants traveling along this busy road, and was called "Osteria". It is believed to be the project of the famous Renaissance architect Peruzzi, or one of his students.

Villa La Foce
Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce

In 1924, the villa was acquired by the Antonio and Iris Origo family, and not only the villa itself, but also its surroundings began to flourish. The idea of ​​creating a garden belongs to the owner. I must say that the lady was very extraordinary. Iris Cutting (1902-1988) spent her childhood and adolescence between Florence, Ireland and America until she married Antonio Origo and settled on a farm acquired by a young family. She described her life on it in two novels that received a number of prestigious awards. With the appearance of this family in the surrounding very poor villages, an economic revival began. Origo hired 25 families on the estate and opened a school for 50 or so children of workers, teaching them to read and securing their future, and built 35 farm houses in the 1920s and 1930s to house their tenant farmers.

Villa La Foce
Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce
Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce
Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce
Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce
Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce

Quite an interesting fact is that the Mussolini government allocated a certain amount for the restoration of the old house. The period of war on the estate is described in Iris Origo's book The War in Val d'Orcia. At the time, the estate included 57 farms on 7,000 acres. Iris Origo wrote several autobiographical novels, as well as several biographies of persons famous in that historical period.

It is believed that the famous gardens, commissioned by Iris Origo by the English architect Cecilia Pinsent (1884-1963), today represent the perfect combination of natural landscape and 20th century architecture, combining Italian and English traditions and taste. The choice of the architect was not accidental, his work was well known to the new owners of the villa. Cecilia Pincent worked on the renovation project of the Medici villa in Fiesole, owned by Sybil Cutting, mother of Iris Origo. Her task was to rebuild and modernize the inner chambers of the building and to lay out a large garden that was supposed to surround the Renaissance house and expand the breathtaking panorama of the Orcia valley and Mount Amiata. The harmony between buildings, gardens and nature makes La Foce an ideal example of the architectural and cultural evolution of Tuscany in the 20th century.

Villa La Foce. Regular garden
Villa La Foce. Regular garden

Villa La Foce. Regular garden

The garden grew gradually, between 1925 and 1939. Considering that the planned garden was located on a mountainside, the relief had to be changed a lot. The house is surrounded by a regular Italian garden that has two terraces. The first is divided into geometric “rooms” by boxwood hedges with lemon trees in terracotta pots. A travertine staircase leads to a rose garden and a winding bersot covered with wisteria and fringed with lavender hedges.

Villa La Foce. Parterre
Villa La Foce. Parterre

Villa La Foce. Parterre

Villa La Foce. Bersot of wisteria
Villa La Foce. Bersot of wisteria

Villa La Foce. Bersot of wisteria

Villa La Foce. The path to the family cemetery
Villa La Foce. The path to the family cemetery

Villa La Foce. The path to the family cemetery

Villa La Foce. Road to Rome
Villa La Foce. Road to Rome

Villa La Foce. Road to Rome

Next is the main staircase, which offers a stunning view of the strict geometric pattern of sheared boxwood, framed by a wall of cypress trees. In the niche is an antique statue, and in front of it, as expected, is a fountain.

Villa La Foce
Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce

Villa La Foce. Antique sculpture
Villa La Foce. Antique sculpture

Villa La Foce. Antique sculpture

Villa La Foce. Fountain
Villa La Foce. Fountain

Villa La Foce. Fountain

But it is worth walking along the path beyond this celebration of order and geometry, a fabulous view of the mountains and the valley with fields and olive groves opens up. This view is simply mesmerizing. You can admire it endlessly, especially when you consider that the running clouds, periodically covering the sun, create a constantly changing picture. I can't even imagine what kind of sunrises and sunsets there are. The gently sloping, informal terraces rise up the hill, where among wild thyme and rosemary bushes grow stone fruits (mainly cherry), pines and cypresses, as well as many species of Cistus, which adorn the rocky slope during flowering.

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A long cypress alley leads to a 17th century stone statue. There is a path through the forest that connects the garden and the family cemetery, which are considered some of the finest creations of Cecilia Pinsent. However, excursions to the cemetery and the private part in front of the house are not allowed.

After the death of Iris and Antonio, their daughters, Benedetta and Donat, sold approximately two-thirds of the estate, and the rest was divided among themselves. But a significant part of the valley, which is a pearl of Italian nature, remained with the owners of the villa and, accordingly, they control the construction and other works in this corner. And, of course, the status of a UNESCO monument obliges. The descendants of the family still own and operate the property as a luxury resort today.

Villa La Foce. Aubriet on the retaining wall
Villa La Foce. Aubriet on the retaining wall

Villa La Foce. Aubriet on the retaining wall

Villa La Foce. Wisteria path to bersot
Villa La Foce. Wisteria path to bersot

Villa La Foce. Wisteria path to bersot

The inconvenience when visiting the villa is that you cannot walk in the park on your own, some of the corners can only be seen from afar. For example, we were not allowed into the lower parterre, and we could only admire this beauty from the stairs. Inspection of the park, if, of course, you are not VIPs and friends of the owners, is possible only in the presence of a guide, who politely but severely restricts freedom. But even this "under control" option provides an opportunity to get acquainted with the main attractions of this marvelous park.

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Hellebore

Hellebore

Hellebore
Hellebore

Hellebore

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