Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano
The villa was ordered by Lorenzo the Magnificent and built to the project of Giuliano da Sangallo between 1484 and 1520. The villa was always a summer residence of the Medici and was the setting of important events in their dynastic history. Here were celebrated the weddings of Alessandro de' Medici and Margherita d'Austria (1536), of Cosimo I and Eleonora da Toledo (1539), and of Francesco I and Bianca Cappello (1579). At the time of Cosimo III (second half of the 17th century) a theatre was built on the ground floor of the villa to satisfy the whims of Margherita Luisa d'Orléans. Prince Ferdinando made it a very active cultural centre. At the death of the last descendent of the Medici family, the building became the property of the Habsburg-Lorraines.
Major remodeling of both villa and park took place over the course of time. Between 1865 and 1871 (the period when Florence was Capital of the Kingdom of Italy) King Vittorio Emanuele II and the Countess of Mirafiori stayed here.
A prototype of the Renaissance villa, it opens onto a vast park with a neoclassical lemon house and stables remodeled in 2000 as a multifunctional space. The façade is distinguished by the broad base with portico that surrounds the building crowned with a tympanum. The broad stairway with two opposite flights built between 1807 and 1811 to the project of Pasquale Poccianti leads to the first floor. On the ground floor are the theatre, the billiards room and the apartment of Bianca Cappello.
On the first floor are the field bedchamber of King Vittorio Emanuele (furnished with special folding furniture for military camps), and the room containing the original panels of the frieze on the tympanum, made of enameled terracotta and about 14 metres long. The Leo X Room overlooks the portico and contains an imposing cycle of frescoes painted by Pontormo, Franciabigio, Alessandro Allori and Andrea del Sarto. Beyond this room is the dining hall, the apartment of King Vittorio Emanuele, the apartment of Countess Mirafiori and the bathroom in neoclassic style.
Since 2007 the villa houses the Museo della Natura Morta (Still Life Museum) which occupies sixteen rooms on the second floor and displays a permanent collection of about 200 paintings dating from the late 16th century to the middle of the 18th century.
Since 2013 the villa has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Address: Piazza dei Medici, 14, Poggio a Caiano
Ticket: free entrance
Accessibility for disabled: yes
Phone: 055 877012
GPX coordinates: 43.8169747283,11.0558043479