Medici Villas

Villa Petraia

Villa Petraia belonged to the Brunelleschi family and  in 1575 it passed to Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici who had Buontalenti completely renovate the structure.    The great entrance court is of great interest, covered with a glass skylight in the 19th century so it could serve as a ball room. It has a series of frescoes by  Volterrano (I7th cent.)  depicting  the pomp of the house of Medici.

The building overlooks an Italian-style garden laid out by Tribolo, who also designed the famous fountain of "Fiorenza emerging from the water" sculptured by Giambologna. 


Villa Artimino

Villa Artimino also noted as "La Ferdinanda", was designed by Buontalenti in 1594 as a "hunting lodge" for Ferdinand I, since it lay in the vicinity of the vast private hunting reserve (hundreds of hectares on Monte Albano), set aside by Cosimo I.  The most striking element is the host of chimneys (which has earned it the name of "Villa of the hundred chimneys").  Actually there are only fourty and each one corresponds to a specific room.

Villa Castello lies closely to the equally famous Villa Petraia which was one of the country houses of the Medici.   The interior of the villa, is now the seat of the "Accademia della Crusca" founded in Florence in 1583 with the purpose of safeguarding and documenting the Italian language.   The garden is well worth visiting - originally planned by Tribolo but considerably modified - with the famous fountain of Hercules and Antaeus (the sculptural group by Ammannati is at present being restored).    The fascinating grotto has two sarcophagus-shaped basins on which a variety of animals sculptured by Giambologna and his school are to be found.

Villa Castello

Villa Careggi

Villa Careggi belonged to the Lippi family and was modified around the mid 15th century by Michelozzo for Cosimo the Elder, who chosed it as his favorite residence.    


It was here that Cosimo the Elder died in 1464 and Lorenzo the Magnificent in 1492.


Villa Poggio a Caiano was designed by Giuliano da Sangallo for Lorenzo the Magnificent and built around 1480.    This is the best known of the Medici villas.     The villa has an unusual "H" - shaped ground plan.   The double curving staircase was added in the late 18th century to replace the original rectilinear flights of stairs.    Very interesting is the marvelously furnished interior,  "Salone di Leone X",  which takes its name from the famous pope, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, with important 16th century frescoes.  

Villa Poggio a Caiano

Villa Cerreto Guidi

Villa Cerreto Guidi was built for Cosimo de' Medici, first Grand-Duke of Tuscany in 1565 and was terminated with the collaboration of Buontalenti, who designed the imposing staircase known also as "Ponti Medicei".

Sadly famous is the scene of the murder of lsabella de' Medici.            


Villa Demidoff is famous for its immense park (over thirty hectares).   In the past the park was enlivened by imaginative waterworks.         


Little remains of the complex built by Buontalenti for Francesco I de' Medici as the fabulous residence for his beloved Bianca Cappello.   In 1872, the estate passed to the Demidoff family, whom we have to thank for restoring the park and transforming the former paggeria into what is now the villa.


The  "Apennine " is a gigantic sculpture rising from a lake, by Giambologna.  The flight of steps with the fountain of the god Pan and Buontalenti's octagonal chapel are what remain of the 16th century layout.

Villa Demidoff - 'Apennine'



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