Villa Caruso Bellosguardo - Lastra a Signa
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The Museum of Villa Caruso di Bellosguardo

Lastra a Signa hosts architectural gem

Lastra a Signa
The marvelous villa and monumental park of Bellosguardo were created during the XVI century by Abbot Alessandro Pucci who restored his old family estate with the intent of creating a paradise-of-sorts where art and nature could stand side by side, each enhancing their own respective beauty.The park became an authentic oasis for a large number of penned-in and free-roaming animals left to wander amidst the scientifically organized natural park and its sculptures of exotic animals. The Abbot Pucci’s heirs transformed Bellosguardo into a Baroque villa designed to host additional sculptures created by artists like Andreozzi and Franchi.

A farm was also established on the estate which was intended to support upkeep of the villa. After several centuries of decline, the ruinous villa was purchased in 1906 by the grand tenor Enrico Caruso, who adopted it as his residence. With the intent of improving his home and providing aid to workers in Lastra a Signa who had been hit hard by a crisis affecting the straw market, Caruso commissioned architect Sabatini and other local artisans to carry out far-reaching structural changes which employed over 300 workers for several years.The villa was linked to the farm thanks to a long portico designed to host a billiard room and lordly chapel.

The garden was enhanced by several new sculptures by Giuseppe Santelli. After the death of Caruso in 1921, the villa fell into the hands of his heirs, finally becoming the property of Count De Micheli who took great pains to protect this incredible architectural treasure. At the beginning of the 1970s, the villa changed ownership once more, experiencing a period of decline. It has been owned by the Municipality of Lastra a Signa since 1996. Once purchased by the Municipal Administration, the complex was restored and opened to visitors during the weekends. The structure began to host special events, especially musical concerts dedicated to Enrico Caruso.

The museum includes various sections which spotlight the complex’s historical, artistic and natural value. Visitors to the monumental park can appreciate rich sculptures, fountains and trees—all of which are adequately described by ample signage. In the chapel and its adjacent halls, you’ll find the Biblioteca Botanica Amatoriale (Amateur Botanical Library) which is currently under reconstruction. Another section of the museum is dedicated to the estate’s farm and the agricultural objects that once characterized the role of Bellosguardo. The Museum of the Villa Bellosguardo is now managed by a non-profit cultural association called ‘Associazione Villa Caruso’ whose members include some of the community’s highest public officials.

Opening hours: from Mondays to Fridays – 8pm to 1pm; Saturdays – 3pm to 7.30pm; Sundays – 9am to 12pm and 3pm to 7.30pm
Admission: free (Entrance fees are applicable for special events or concerts)
Handicap access: yes, electric stair ramp and elevator
Contact information:
Via di Bellosguardo,54 - LASTRA A SIGNA (FLORENCE)
tel. 055/8721783

E-mail:info@villacaruso.it
http://www.villacaruso.it/

Lastra a signa
One of the busiest business areas near Florence specialising in producing D.O.C.G. wines
The area of Lastra a Signa has been inhabited since the Etruscans made it their home. In the grounds of Villa di Bellosguardo there are the ruins of an Etruscan house that are open to the public. Many small towns grew up in the region when the Romans settled here, such as Malmantile and Bracciatica which are both on the ancient Roman road that connected Pisa and Florence. ...
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