The Medici Villa of Cafaggiolo (also known as Cafaggiolo Castle) is located in Barberino, in the heart of the Mugello, homeland of the Medici family.
The Villa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the greatest masterpieces of Renaissance architecture, a work by Michelozzo, commissioned in 1443 by Cosimo the Elder to turn the 14th-century castle into a residential building.
This is where the Medici came to stay in the countryside, welcoming illustrious figures and artists, princes and popes. Indeed, the sumptuous halls and vast grounds used meeting places for symposia, parties, dances and receptions.
Lorenzo the Magnificent spent part of his childhood in Cafaggiolo and also stayed here as an adult, surrounded by men of culture. In 1515, the castle’s doors were opened to Pope Leo X and some future wives of the Medici family were received here: Margherita of Austria was welcomed by Caterina de’ Medici in 1533, and Joanna of Austria came from Vienna in 1565 to marry the grand duke Francesco I.
At the end of the Medici line, with Giangastone in 1737, the Villa fell into Hapsburg-Lorraine hands.
Later, in 1864, the Italian government sold it to the Borghese princes, who made considerable changes to the property.
The Villa is currently closed to the public and renovations are underway for the creation of a large resort.