Petraia, Poggio a Caiano and Castello
For centuries, Florence was ruled by the influential Medici family and even after their power waned and their times went on to become the narratives of history books, the grandeur of their lives still survive in the splendid and luxurious villas that were built by them.
The Medici Villas offer a spectacular insight into the Medici lifestyle, while allowing visitors to relive pieces of history that resonate from the design of each building, their enchanting gardens, the beautiful frescoes, and mesmerising landscape.
The solemn medieval Petraia Villa once belonged to the Brunelleschi family, but came into the Medici family in 1575 through Cardinal Ferdinando de Medici who entirely renovated the castle under the design of Buontalenti. The Petraia Villa later became the holiday residence of Italy’s first king, Vittorio Emmanuele II.
The entrance square which was roofed by a skylight was once used to host grand balls, while the stylish courtyard which was sheltered by a glass ceiling by Vittorio Emmanuele II is a charming addition to this historic villa. However, the villa’s most stunning aspect is the gorgeous gardens which come alive in the month of May with an abundance of roses and other flowers. The villa’s grounds, adorned with graceful fountains and a wonderfully kept English styled park that stretches on towards the Castello Villa, is an idea envisaged by the landscape designer J. Fritsch for the Lorraine family.
Poggio a Caiano
The Poggio a Caiano was once a small house completely rebuilt between 1480 and 1485 by Lorenzo de Medici (Lorenzo the Magnificent) and was designed by Guiliano da Sangallo; it is usually considered to be the most impressive of the Medici Villas.
The villa with its Ionic columned loggia is the picture of stately grandeur which welcomes visitors from the huge garden to its front which was redesigned during the 1800s. The magnificent interior is superbly furnished with 19th century furniture, while the exquisite frescoes depict various aspects of Roman life by Andrea del Sarto and Alessandro Allori, with its most remarkable piece being the lunette by Pontormo representing the deities Pomona and Vurtumnus.
The villa La Ferdinanda was the hunting residence built in 1594 by Ferdinand I de’ Medici and was designed Buontalenti. It is most peculiar because of its numerous chimneys, earning the name the “villa of the hundred chimneys”, in spite there being only forty chimneys. The chief room of the Villa which today’ is mostly used for gatherings and banquets, houses a succession of lunettes that depict the various villas of the Medici by the Flemish artist Guisto Utens.
Garden visit of Castello
Known as the Greenhouse during the 14th century, it was bought by the Medici and was later demolished by the Florentines after the Medici family was exiled. It was however reconstructed by Cosimo I de’ Medici (Cosimo the Great) and designed in its traditional Renaissance style by Giorgio Vasari. The gardens of the Villa lend a spectacular feature which was once believed to be one of the most flourishing and remarkable in Europe.
Region of Tuscany
Number of Pax
Less than € 1000