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Villa La Petraia

Medici Villa, Remodelled by a King

Villa La Petraia

Amid the almost continuous conurbation of power lines and industrial landscapes that blight the Prato road, the Villa la Petraia manages to remain Arcadian on its steeply sloping hill. La Petraia was purchased by Grand Duke Ferdinando I in 1557 and rebuilt as a splendid villa by Buontalenti, who kept the tower of the original country castle intact.

Unfortunately Vittorio Emanuele II liked it as much as the Medici, and when Florence was the capital of Italy, he had it redesigned to suit his relentlessly bad taste. Still, the interior has its charms. The ornate Baroque court is frescoed with a pastel history of the Medici by 17th-century masters Volterrano and Giovanni di San Giovanni; Vittorio Emanuele II added the glass roof so that he could use the space as a ballroom.

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Palazzi and Villas

Outside the Centre

All About the Medici

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by eigentum, public domain, Erich Schmid, GNU Free Documentation License