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Villa Gambreraia

Beloved 18th-century Gardens over Florence

villa Gamberaia, may 2016

In Settignano in the hills above Florence, there was a old farmhouse with a pond filled with crayfish (gamberi) that gave this spot its unusually name. It was later owned by Matteo di Domenico Gamberelli, father of Antonio and Bernardo Rossellino.

At the beginning of the 17th century, wealthy Florentine merchant Zanobi Lapi bought the property and began the rebuilding the house and creating its beautiful gardens.

Two later women perfected them: Romanian princess Catherine Jeanne Ghyka designed the parterre d’eau in the late 19th century, and the decade before World War II an American, Matilda Cass Ledyard, Baroness von Ketteler, planted many of the evergreens. The villa and gardens were damaged in the war; now restored, they are now owned by the Zalum family, of the Serbian merchant dynasty in Livorno.

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Parks and Gardens

Outside the Centre

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Olga