Address: Via della Petraia, 40 - Tel.055/451208 località Castello
How to get there: by car state highway direction "Sesto
Fiorentino" - by coach ATAF bus 28
Formerly a castle of the Brunelleschi family, in 1575 it
passed to Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici who had Buontalenti
completely renovate the structure. Of particular effect is the
great entrance court: covered with a glass skylight in the
nineteenth century so it could serve as a ball room, it houses a
series of frescoes by Volterrano (I 7th cent.) depicting the pomp
of the house of Medici.
Elected as his summer residence by Victor Emmanuel II, the villa
still has richly furnished period rooms (a curious collection of
parlor games is also on view).
The building overlooks an Italian-style garden laid out by
Tribolo, who also designed the famous fountain of "Fiorenza
emerging from the water" sculptured by Giambologna.
Nurseries, hothouses and basins are scattered throughout the
"terraces", with their geometrically patterned boxwood
hedges. The spacious English park stretches between the villa of
the Petraia and that of Castello, and is characterized by its
dense groves of holm-oaks, cedars, pines, plane trees, conceived
by the Bohemian landscapist J. Fritsch, for the Lorraines.