Tuscany The Villa di Medici by Giuliano da Sangallo-1470: Poggio a Caiano, Tuscany In 14th and 15th century Italy, a villa once more connoted a country house, like the first Medici villas, the Villa del Trebbio and that at Cafaggiolo, both strong fortified houses built in the 14th century in the Mugello region near Florence. In 1450 Giovanni de' Medici commenced on a hillside the Villa Medici in Fiesole, Tuscany, probably the first villa created under the instructions of Leon Battista Alberti, who theorized the features of the new idea of villa in his De re aedificatoria. Villa di Pratolino with lower half of the gardens: by Giusto Utens-1599. Museo Topografico, Florence. These first examples of Renaissance villa predate the age of Lorenzo de' Medici, who added the Villa di Poggio a Caiano by Giuliano da Sangallo, begun in 1470, in Poggio a Caiano, Province of Prato, Tuscany. From Tuscany the idea of villa was spread again through Renaissance Italy and Europe. The Villa del Trebbio is a Medici villa in Tuscany, Italy. The villa is located near San Piero a Sieve in the Mugello region, in the province of Florence, in the area from which the Medici family originated. It was one of the first - if not the first - of the Medici villas built outside Florence. The estate is situated on a strategic position in the Appennines, on the top of a hill dominating the Val di Sieve, near a crossroads (giving rise to its name, from the Latin trivium). The villa belonged to Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, th
founder of the Medici bank and of the fortunes of the Medici family. Following his death in 1428, it was remodelled by his son, Cosimo de' Medici, whose architect, Michelozzo, restyled it as a fortified castle. Michelozzo retained the windowless tower, moat and drawbridge, and added a perimeter walkway with corbels. There is a central courtyard with a well. The villa remained essentially a fortified house, but various features indicate its secondary purpose as a place of pleasure, including an early walled garden, built on two terraces beside the villa. The upper terrace has a stone pergola, with a double row of columns; a similar pergola has disappeared from the lower terrace. The garden was a place of retreat for Cosimo, away from the troubles of politics in Florence, where he could tend his fruit trees. On the other side of the villa stands a chapel. The villa was surrounded by woods and an agricultural estate, bordering that of the Villa Medicea di Cafaggiolo. In the sixteenth century the villa was enlarged by Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who enjoyed hunting in the estate, and his son Ferdinand I. Ferdinand II sold the estate to a wealthy Florentine, Giuliano Serragli, in 1644, who gave it to the Oratorians. The garden to the front of the villa, with roses and box hedges, was laid out in the twentieth century. As of 2008, it belongs to a private individual who uses the property to produce fine wines. Wine-tasting and tours are available to interested groups in English and Italian.
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