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Horti Leonini

An exemplary model of the Italian Garden

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San Quirico d'Orcia
The Leonini Gardens occupy a large area of public space, which comprises the ancient bastions of San Quirico d'Orcia. Born in circa 1581 on the property of Francesco I dei Medici, who donated the land to Diomede Leoni, after which the gardens were named. The Leonini Gardens have remained the same since their inception and represent a classic Italian garden. The gardens also feature an adjacent park that had been enlarged over the centuries. Because of the nature of the landscape, the garden has ben divided into two areas: an inferior one that is more artificial and a larger one that is more natural.    

The smaller garden, which has a rhomboidal shape, can be reached through a small brick courtyard. It is fenced off with brick walls and potted ilex trees. This area is composed of triangular flowerbeds with a doubled-edged fence, and it boasts a statue of Cosimo III dei Medici, made by Bartolomeo Mazzuoli (1688). The composition has a radial design with various kinds and heights of vegetation that separate each flowerbed. The long road that symmetrically cuts through the garden leads to a stairway and a green square. The square, where the medieval tower that was destroyed in the last world war is situated, is at the centre of a wood of centuries-old ilex trees.   

Horti Leonini, San Quirico d'Orcia
Horti Leonini, San Quirico d'Orcia - Credit: Henrik Berger Jørgensen

The road that separates the garden from the adjacent residential area travels along the smaller area of the garden and leads to another entrance and another area, at the east-end corner along the wall, which features a bed of roses. Among the sculptures in the park are two lion's heads at the main entrance, and the head of the "Giano bifronte", located near the border between the formal garden and the area of wild vegetation. Some of the edifices in the park date back to the 1400s.

The Horti Leonini, which became the property of the municipality of San Quirico d'Orcia in 1975, are regularly open to the public. The area is maintained buy the Soprintendenza per i Beni Ambientali e Architettonici of the province of Siena and Grosseto.

San Quirico d'Orcia
An artistic park in the heart of Tuscany
In the heart of the Val d’Orcia, nestled amidst hills of incomparable beauty, sits an ancient village that probably dates back to the Etruscan era, immersed in a landscape dotted with olive groves, vineyards and oak forests. The territory is one to be admired for its perfect balance honed over the years between the natural landscape and man-made marvels. ...