A camper tour of the Medici Villas, UNESCO Heritage Sites
Web series: The Medici Villas, a UNESCO site in Tuscany
A camper itinerary in the province of Florence
- Florence Slow Tour: The Medici Villa di Castello
- Florence Slow Tour: Palazzo Medici Riccardi
- The Medici Villa La Petraia
- Florence Slow Tour: The Medici Park of Pratolino
- Florence Slow Tour: The Medici Renaissance
A travel in Tuscany to discover the Medici Villas, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These splendid residences were commissioned and curated by the Medici family at various moments in their long history as the “rulers” of Tuscany and Florence, becoming places of delight and beauty for the various illustrious family members.
The history of the Medici Villas is fascinating, starting with Cosimo the Elder, who inaugurated Villa Careggi, passing through the Neoplatonic Academy and the Renaissance. Giovanni and Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco commissioned Botticelli for the famous Birth of Venus and Primavera at Villa Castello, where Cosimo the First created the first Italian-style garden, designed by Tribolo. Not only that, Francesco created a remarkable alchemical garden at Pratolino, and Ferdinando expanded Villa Petraia, a place of delights where the music of his wedding gave rise to a new musical conception thanks to the Camerata dei Bardi… Each Villa has a unique history and reflects the personality of its inhabitants. These residences had to distinguish themselves from medieval fortresses dedicated to defense.
During the Medici era, they were transformed into villas of refined living, places of pleasure and beauty as we know them today. Surrounded by gardens, the Villas were partly self-sufficient thanks to the cultivation of citrus fruits and the vegetable garden. There were fish ponds, water features, and allegorical decorations meant to represent paradise on earth, with a meticulously geometric concept of order, even when evoking wild nature, as in the animal grotto at Villa Castello! Within the Medici Villas, one can admire marvelous frescoes that celebrate the deeds of the owners, such as in the courtyard of Villa Petraia, or lead guests along surprising paths of allegorical and alchemical nature, as in Pratolino, where incredible water-powered automatons played organs and animated extraordinary scenery, culminating in a banquet set up on a centuries-old oak tree.
It is no wonder that this was the period of the Italian Renaissance, an era of lords and Popes patrons of great artists, a time of splendor and great conflicts that still resonate in the Villas beloved by the Medici!