World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Villa Medicea di Pratolino

Article Id: WHEBN0018146615
Reproduction Date:

Title: Villa Medicea di Pratolino  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Villa Medici, Giusto Utens, Tommaso Francini
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Villa Medicea di Pratolino

The Villa di Pratolino was a Renaissance patrician villa in Vaglia, Tuscany, Italy. It was mostly demolished in 1820: its remains are now part of Villa Demidoff, 12 km north of Florence, reached from the main road to Bologna.


The villa was built by the solitary Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany in part to please his Venetian mistress, the celebrated Bianca Capello. The designer of villa and gardens was his court architect- designer- mechanician- engineer Bernardo Buontalenti, who completed it in a single campaign that lasted from 1569 to 1581; it was finished enough to provide the setting for Francesco's public wedding to Bianca Cappello in 1579. In its time it was a splendid example of the Mannerist garden.

Francesco had assembled most of the property, which was not a hereditary Medici possession, by September 1568,[1] and construction began the following spring.

The garden was laid out along a perfectly straight down-slope axis passing through the center of the villa, which stood midway. Down the central descent, the visitor still walks under a cooling arch of fountain jets, without getting wet.

Michel de Montaigne, one of the earliest visitors to leave a description of Pratolino, saw it in 1581,[2] and considered it to have been built, he thought when visiting Villa d'Este, "precisely in rivalry with this place". A long description was published by a Florentine, Francesco de' Vieri, in 1586.[3] Giusto Utens included a view of the southern half of the villa complex among his series of lunettes containing bird's-eye views of the Medicean villas, painted in 1599. Six views were etched by Stefano Della Bella in the mid-17th century, and the picture is rounded out by further 18th century descriptions. Nevertheless, Pratolino has not survived, as other Medici villas have.

Though the villa and its fountains were kept in repair, after Francesco's death it was deserted; in the eighteenth century some of its sculptures were removed to adorn the extension of the Boboli Gardens, and the place was left to fall into decay; by 1798 a German visitor was impressed with the romantic ruin of it.[4] Grand Duke Ferdinand III decided to capitalize on the air of overgrown wildness; in 1820 it was decided to demolish the villa, and the garden was then re-designed in the English landscape manner and became one of the most romantic gardens ever seen in Tuscany. In 1872 the complex was sold by the heirs of Leopold II, former Grand Duke of Tuscany, to Prince Pavel Pavlovich Demidov who restored the Paggeria, or pages' lodgings of the former residence, as the Villa Demidoff di Pratolino. The property was eventually inherited by Prince Paul of Yugoslavia. Later the park was bought by the province of Florence who maintain the park and open it for public use from May until September.

The complicated iconography of the garden is embodied in the brooding statue of "Appennino" (1579-1580), a colossal sculpture by Giambologna, which originally seemed to emerge from the vaulted rockwork niche that once surrounded him. Multiple grottoes with water-driven automata, a water organ, surprise jets that drenched visitors' finery when the fontanieri opened secret spigots, offered striking juxtapositions of Art with imitations of rugged Nature.


Coordinates: 43°51′36″N 11°17′53″E / 43.860°N 11.298°E / 43.860; 11.298

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.