The Medici Villas: UNESCO jewels

12 beautiful villas and 2 gardens in Tuscany

The Medici family, during their rule between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, left us many beautiful villas, palaces and gardens, designed by some of the most talented architects of the time. Now, 12 villas and 2 gardens have become UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

One Medici Villa can be found in Poggio a Caiano. It belonged to Lorenzo il Magnifico, who hosted a series of royals, including Vittorio Emanuele II, there. The architecture is splendid, with a terraced porch on the ground floor and a double staircase which leads to the central loggia, inspired by classical motifs. The interior resembles a small museum with remarkable sixteenth century frescoes, and the villa is surrounded by a beautiful park.

La Ferdinanda, near Comeana, also known as the Villa di Artimino, was commissioned by Ferdinando I de' Medici and designed by Buontalenti towards the end of the sixteenth century.
 
The Castello Villa Medici, in the town of Castello, is a beautiful Renaissance building restored by Vasari and surrounded by a lovely garden designed by Tribolo. The villa is home to the Accademia della Crusca.
 
The Petraia Villa Medici is one of the most beautiful buildings in the area. It was built along the designs of Buontalenti in the second half of the sixteenth century, commissioned by Ferdinando I.
 
Not far from Fiesole is another Medici Villa, known as Belcanto or the Palagio di Fiesole. It was commissioned by Cosimo il Vecchio and designed by Michelozzo (1458-1461).
 
On the outskirts of Florence is the Careggi Villa Medici, which was bought by the Medici family in the first half of the fifteenth century and rebuild by Michelozzo for Cosimo il Vecchio, who died there in 1464.
 
The Medici Villa at Poggio Imperiale is just one kilometre from Porta Romana. Built in 1427, it belonged to the Baroncelli, Pandolfini and Salviati families before passing to the Medici. It was restructured over the years by Giulio Parigi, Gaspare Maria Paoletti and then Pasquale Poccianti. In 1864 King Vittorio Emanuele made it the seat of the Collegio della SS. Annunziata.
 
The Magia di Quarrata is situated atop a hill on the northern slopes of Montalbano. The estate was bought by Francesco I dei Medici in 1583, who commissioned the restructuring of the castle, which was probably carried out by Bernardo Buontalenti.
 
Florenceā€™s Boboli Gardens, the Medici Gardens in Pratolino, the Villa di Cerreto Guidi and the Palazzo di Seravezza have also been awarded World Heritage status.

Cover image credit: Fedepass

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