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Ville Medicee

VILLA LA MAGIA

What strongly characterizes this place, unlike other ancient villas, is the fact that it was inhabited until a few years ago.

In the first years of this century, in fact, the furniture that we can see today were still used, the kitchens were full of vapors and perfumes and what now appears as a jewel of history and art was a “living” house.

The last owner, the Countess Marcella Pagnani Amati Cellesi, lived for a period of time alone in the Villa.

Among her passions we can still remember the garden, for which she had special attention and care: whoever visited the villa when the Countess was there, surely remembers the numerous vases of seasonal flowers which, from the first spring months, adorned the garden . Books and magazines, but also numerous furnishing objects and tools, still remember the Italian-American origin of the Countess Marcella, a great lover of music too, as evidenced by the two pianos still preserved in the entrance hall of the Villa. Alongside the initiatives of the municipal administration, which regularly uses these spaces for its own events, making them available also to the whole community, for various events and initiatives, important projects promotion are being developed, for the enhancement of the whole the city of Quarrata.

Among the most important and significant, it is important to remember the contemporary art project “Genius loci – The spirit of the place”, which since 2005 has seen the growth of the Villa’s contemporary art heritage, with the work of Fabrizio Corneli, Anne and Patrick Poirier, Marco Bagnoli, Hidetoshi Nagasawa and Maurizio Nannucci, all made with the essential contribution of the Cassa di Risparmio di Pistoia and Pescia Foundation.

For the history retraced so far, Villa La Magia is one of the most representative elements of the territory of Quarrata and constitutes one of the most prestigious architectural emergencies of the whole Montalbano, for which it was requested the recognition of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Villa La Magia is also at the center of the “Abitare l’Arte” project, included in PIUSS and financed by the Tuscany Region, for economic development.

Some areas of the Villa will be used for the construction of a technological-artistic laboratory for developing prototypes and designs for quality home furnishing productions.

VILLA MEDICEA DI POGGIO A CAIANO

The Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano was built by Lorenzo de ’Medici and his heirs on a design by Giuliano da Sangallo between 1485 and 1520, with a probable pause between 1495 and 1515 due to the exile of the Medici. It always remained the summer residence of the Medici and, in addition to hosting numerous personalities. When Florence became the capital, Vittorio Emanuele II, a lover of horses and hunting, had the Villa rearranged: new stables were built, some rooms on the ground floor were redecorated and the big Leo X hall on the first floor was transformed into a billiard room.

With Vittorio Emanuele II, the “beautiful Resina” also arrived, namely Rosa Vercellana, a Turin-born commoner and lover of the king and then his morganatic wife.

Proof of this latest love story that has had the Villa as its theater are two beautiful bedrooms, which can be visited on the first floor.

The Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano is a splendid example of Renaissance architecture, which blends the lesson of the classics (in particular Vitruvius) with characteristic elements of Tuscan rural stately architecture. The exterior of the Villa has kept the original Sangallo Renaissance project intact, except for the two twin staircases leading to the terrace, built in the early 1800s to replace the original ones. The interior of the Villa has undergone several changes over the years that have changed its original appearance.

On the ground floor you can visit: the so-called Bianca Cappello apartment; the entrance hall and the billiard room and the eighteenth-century court theater, which in 1791 hosted the premiere of the prose drama “Il Conte Policronio” or “Le bugie hanno le gambe corte” by Giuseppe Moneta.

On the first floor is the most interesting room of the Villa: the Leone X lounge, located in the center of the building; it was probably completed around 1513.

According to Vasari the decoration of the vault belongs only in part to Sangallo: the rest would be the work of Franciabigio and Andrea di Cosimo Feltrini.

VILLA MEDICEA OF CAREGGI

Purchased by the Medici family in 1417, on the death of Giovanni di Bicci dei Medici the villa was inherited by his son Cosimo il Vecchio who commissioned Michelozzo to renovate it.

The intervention was decidedly consistent and had as its generating center the open gallery characterized by its trapezoidal shape.

Michelozzo also owes the opening of the loggias, on the upper floors, which made the building more open towards the garden and the surrounding landscape.

After the death of Cosimo il Vecchio, which took place at Careggi in 1464, followed five years later by that of his son, his nephew Lorenzo the Magnificent became the head of the Medici family.

Here Lorenzo met with his friends who were members of the Platonic Academy and it was here that he spent the last years of his life until 1492, the year of his death. From the garden at the time of Lorenzo there are some descriptions that speak of a vegetation composed of myrtles, olive trees, oaks, poplars, pines, plane trees, citrus trees, spices, myrrh and incense.

This description suggests a garden divided into two parts, one cultivated with flowers and fruit and a wild part.

With the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent, a period of decadence of the villa began interrupted by Cardinal Carlo who, after 1615, undertook an extensive project to transform the interior and the garden.

Passed to the Lorena house after these succeeded in the Grand Duchy to the Medici, the property was sold in 1779 to Vincenzo Orsi.

In 1848 the Orsi family sold it to the rich Englishman Francis Sloane, geologist and scholar of natural sciences.

In Sloane we have the interventions of transformation of the garden with the creation of the “romantic” park, in which it used many exotic tree species that still exist (cedars of Lebanon and Himalaya, California redwoods, Greek strawberry trees, palm trees), and the construction of a lemon house where they were, a precious collection of citrus fruits, and many varieties of palm trees. After the death of Sloane, the villa changed ownership several times, until the definitive purchase by the Arcispedale of Santa Maria Nuova in 1936.

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