If the gardens of Villa di Castello made you dream about Botticelli’s Primavera, Villa La Petraia will take you back in time to the king’s palace with its sumptuous frescoed interior courtyard and its elegantly furnished rooms.
The ancient castle with its tower, which existed as far back as 1362, was acquired by the Medici in 1530. Donated by Cosimo I to his son cardinal Ferdinando in 1568, it was enlarged and transformed into a villa by the latter Medici. During the rebuilding, a huge courtyard decorated with frescoes depicting the splendour of the Medici was created. In the 18th century, with the extinction of the Medici Dynasty, the villa passed to the Lorraine family and then with the unification of Italy, Petraia became one of the favorites residences of the king Vittorio Emanuele II di Savoia and his wife Rosa Vercelli. In the Savoy era, during the celebrations for the engagement of the son King Emanuele di Mirafiori to Blanche de Larderel, the courtyard was transformed into a ballroom with a glass and iron roof and a large chandelier. You will be amazed by the beauty of this courtyard as soon as you enter the villa.
Villa la Petraia holds, among other things, two precious sculptures originally created to set up two fountains: the Venus-Fiorenza, a bronze sculpture by Giambologna that originally topped the ancient fountain in the Petraia’s garden, and the original sculpture of Ercole and Anteo created for the garden of Villa di Castello.
In addition, the villa is home to a famous cycle of 14 lunettes painted by the Flemish artist Giusto Utens between 1599 and 1603 on commission by Ferdinando I, depicting the Medici villas around Tuscany, a sort of “inventor” of various Medici properties.
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