Immersed in the Tuscan landscape, this new Medici residence (of great interest at the time) once featured a garden with makeshift caves, water 'tricks' and statues, a whimsical place also known as “the garden of marvels.”
In the second half of the 16th century, Francesco I de’ Medici commissioned the brilliant architect Bernardo Buontalenti to construct the villa, though the park's life continued well after Francesco's death. In the 19th century Russian Prince Paolo Demidoff bought the structure and began a series of restoration projects to repair its Renaissance splendor. The Medici villa was demolished in 1822 and the family built their new residence on the area’s secondary villa, enlarging and restoring the original structure.
Of the garden’s many treasures, don’t miss Giambologna’s Apennine Colossus, called “the Giant,” whose interior once featured caves decorated with frescoes and water games. The statue faces an enchanting pond vaunting flowering water lilies, a real-life image of Monet’s most famous work.
The only building to maintain the majority of its original form is Buontalenti's Chapel (1580). Be sure to visit this beautiful structure, not to mention the Vasca della Maschera, Cupid’s Grotto, the Grotto of Mugnone, the old Paggeria, the Demidoff Monument and the large aviary. The 'Wooden Models of Sacred Drama Staging in Renaissance Florence' have been arranged inside Buontalenti’s stables, fully restored in March 2017.
Open to the public from April 16 to October 29. Friday through Sunday and holidays, open from 10am – 8pm with free entry