Audioguide of the Medici Villa of Cerreto Guidi

1. Introduction

Welcome to the Medici Villa of Cerreto Guidi, a World Heritage Site since 2013 and part of the UNESCO series of sites, “Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany”, consisting of 14 sites including villas and gardens in Tuscany, all once belonging to the Medici family.

The villa was an extra-urban residence built in a dominant position on a hill in the centre of the town of Cerreto Guidi. It was commissioned around the mid-16th century by Cosimo de’ Medici, Duke and later Grand Duke of Tuscany, who made it one of his favourite leisure destinations. In fact, the sovereign came here to rest and devote himself to hunting, his great passion. Cosimo preferred these places, where the hunting season was all year long, also thanks to the proximity of the Fucecchio Marshes which, then as now, were and are a great source of fauna. Numerous letters confirm that he and his wife Eleonora di Toledo were present at Cerreto from 1542.
The strategic position of Cerreto Guidi also played a very important role in the control of the territory, functioning as a garrison and a place for Cosimo and his court to stop and rest during their travels.
For this reason, it soon became necessary to build “a new walled palace” in the castle of Cerreto Guidi, on the hill next to the parish church of San Leonardo. Construction on the villa probably began in 1564, on the remains of the fortress of the Counts Guidi, who had ruled the town between 1079 and 1273.
Cosimo commissioned Davitte Fortini to design the new residence. This architect and engineer in the service of the Medici built a compact block with an austere main facade, the only decorative elements being the window frames and corbels and the ashlar work around the entrance door. The building’s austere appearance is made even more imposing by the majestic “scalera” or ramp-like staircases, called “ponti” or bridges. The rooms beneath the ramps were used as stables and still connect the town to the villa today.
The ramps were built after the building, to both allow access to the piazza in front of the building, and to contain the hill, subject to continuous landslides.
The ramps are built of exposed bricks and Gonfolina stone – the stone mass in the Arno river strait located downstream of Lastra a Signa – and provide a contrast to the villa’s pale plaster, creating an evocative dramatic effect.

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2. The Museum

Over the centuries the villa has belonged to various members of the Medici family. Cosimo I gave it to his illegitimate son Giovanni, who died in 1621 without heirs. The property then passed to Don Lorenzo, son of Grand Duke Ferdinando I and Christina of Lorraine, to be later sold to Cardinal Leopoldo. 

A few years later, in 1675, Cosimo III took possession of the villa, so that it was once again in the hands of the grand-ducal branch of the family.
The villa inevitably followed the fate of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Medici family, which died out in 1739 with the death of Giangastone. The Lorraine family, which took over the government of Tuscany, and thus acquired the Medici properties, including the Villa di Cerreto Guidi. However, they were so uninterested in the villa that in 1780, Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Hapsburg Lorraine put it up for auction. The following year Antonio Tonini of Pescia bought the building and then resold it shortly afterwards, in 1790, to the Maggi family, originally from Livorno. They kept the villa for almost a century, and in 1821, financed the construction of the road that leads to the piazza in front of the parish church, the Pieve di San Leonardo.
In 1885, the Florentine noblewoman Maddalena Dotti da Filicaia bought the villa and annexes to give them to her daughter Elvira and son-in-law Enrico Geddes. The family owned the property until 1966, when they sold it to the engineer Galliano Boldrini.
In 1969, Boldrini, a native of Cerreto Guidi, donated the villa to the Italian State, with the binding condition that it be made into a national museum. After the necessary restorations, the museum opened to the public on June 18, 1978.

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3. The Entrance Hall

We are in the entrance room or hall, the first in the villa, which may have been used as a guardhouse in the 16th century. On the right, the first owner, Cosimo I, portrayed as the Grand Duke in the large canvas attributed to Domenico and Valore Casini, welcomes us with his wife Eleonora di Toledo and daughter Isabella, depicted in two other portraits.

Cosimo, who became Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1570, is represented with the grand ducal crown on his head and wearing a magnificent robe embellished with an ermine mantle. The sceptre he holds has a sphere on the top, recalling the Medici coat of arms. His beloved wife Eleonora, daughter of the Viceroy of Spain, Don Pedro, is portrayed standing. She wears a brown dress and her expression is serene. Their marriage, dictated by political motivations, turned out to be a solid union, based on genuine feelings of affection, and they had eleven children together. Eleonora was always at her husband’s side, and even followed him on hunting trips, as several letters she sent from Cerreto Guidi to her mother-in-law Maria Salviati testify.
The tour of the Historical Museum of Hunting and the Territory also begins in this hall, with two valuable weapons displayed on the left wall, near the fireplace. The first one is an arquebus for hunting waterfowl, nicknamed a “springald”, produced by the Farnese-Borbone armoury. This type of weapon, with a long barrel, was used for hunting in the small clearings inside the marshes. Next to it, however, there is a pike attributable to the Officina Martelli, active in Florence since the 14th century. The pike was a fixed weapon used for hunting ungulates and large game, with a structure that allowed the hunter to strike the prey from afar, thus remaining unharmed by any of the animal’s reactions.

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4. The Room of the Villas

We continue the visit by going left into the Sala delle Ville or Room of the Villas, named for the walls depicting the country properties of the Geddes da Filicaia marquises.

The views of the villas of Pozzolo in Montaione, Santa Lucia in Prato, Aboca and Sant’Antonio in Montaione, faithful to their actual appearance and at the same time poetic, take up the entire room, evoking peaceful country life at the end of the 19th century. The frescoes are attributed to Ruggero Focardi, at the time a young painter and friend of the Geddes family. The paintings depict the family’s peaceful everyday moments of rest from city business. In the centre, Elvira, Enrico and Maddalena Dotti stroll around the Santa Lucia estate; on the opposite wall the gamekeeper is going out of Villa di Sant’Antonio to walk the dogs, while in the scene to the right on entering, the lady in black is reading a letter, while behind her, her husband arrives in a calash.
Over the two doors are monochrome depictions of Piero de’ Medici, known as il Gottoso, and, probably, his wife Lucrezia Tornabuoni, parents of Lorenzo the Magnificent, shown here as if to emphasise the da Filicaia’s Medici lineage, the villa’s first owner.

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5. The Room of Lucca di Tommè and the Baldrini Salon

Exiting the Sala delle Ville, the two following rooms present works that show the figures of Stefano and Ugo Bardini, antique dealers active in Florence between the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, whose legacy was acquired by the Italian state in 1996 and only partially exhibited in this villa.

The first room is called Luca di Tommè due to the presence, on the right wall, of three panels depicting the saints Stephen, Paul and Peter, recognisable by their traditional iconographic attributes. The panels, attributed to the Sienese painter Luca di Tommè and datable to between 1374 and 1390, were part of a polyptych also consisting of a St. John the Baptist and a Madonna enthroned with Child. These paintings and the other works in the room, such as Lucrezia Romana del Sodoma, the lunette with a Pietà by Francesco di Giorgio Martini or the very sweet 15th-century polychrome stucco relief depicting a Madonna and Child, in fact come from the Bardini collections, thousands of works including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, furniture, tapestries, tooled and decorated leather panels known as corami, and terracotta, accumulated over time by the two antique dealers. In particular, the relief depicting the Madonna and Child in a tender embrace and surrounded by joyful angels, is attributable to the workshop of Benedetto da Maiano and was acquired by Stefano Bardini in 1890.
Some of those collected works are also found in the next room, named the Salone Bardini for this reason. On exhibit here are two 15th-century chests of different types. The first, referable to Michelozzo di Bartolomeo, architect and sculptor in the service of the Medici, is called “a burial” chest due to its unique shape. At the centre is inlay work depicting a triumphant chariot accompanied by winged cherubs. The second, opposite, is instead a wedding chest from the workshop of Apollonio di Giovanni, made of wood, painted and decorated with a scene that recalls the meeting in Florence between Lorenzo the Magnificent and Federico da Montefeltro.
Going across the room towards the exit, on the walls, you will see a Della Robbia terracotta depicting a female figure, a door in gilded leather painted with the coats-of-arms of the Oddi and Montesperelli families and 17th-century canvases depicting Turkish figures with hunting dogs. These works, still in their original frames, belonged to Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici and bear witness to the profusion of oriental and Turkish themes, or “turcherie”, in the Florence of the Medici.
In the room there is also a cabinet, made in Naples in the 17th century, which preserves documents and personal objects. There was a profusion of this furniture in Florence between the end of the 16th and early 17th centuries, pieces in various shapes, materials and sizes. They often also had side handles to be easily transportable.
Watch the video or go to the next room

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6. The Tapestry Room

Leaving the Bardini Salon, we cross the entrance hall again to go into the Tapestry Room or Sala degli Arazzi, named for the four large tapestries hanging on the walls, recreating the appearance of a typical room in an aristocratic Renaissance Florentine residence, even in the country. 

In that period, in fact, the Medici court also used tapestries widely, both for decorating the rooms, and insulating the cold walls in the winter months. Moreover, they could be transported easily from one residence to another.
For this reason, the inventory of assets in the villa in 1667 lists sixty-nine tapestries with depictions of hunts, woods and animals. The tapestries exhibited in this room today are not part of the villa’s historical collection, but the work of the Arazzeria Medicea, the Medici tapestry workshop, established in Florence in 1545 by Cosimo I, who had them made in wool, silk, silver, gold and fabric in 1637. Each tapestry depicts a scene related to a season, framed in a border showing the zodiac signs corresponding to the period of the year represented.
On exhibit in the central showcase, on the other hand, is what can be considered as the first shotgun in history: a shotgun “wolf killing ‘schioppetto’” dated 1417. The shotgun has the shape of a wolf’s muzzle, the wolf in a state of alert, showing menacing sharp teeth and bulging eyes. Have you noticed how the ears are back and a crack can be seen through its jaws? Is that where the shot exits!
In the same display case there is also a repeating arquebus from the 17th century by Michele Lorenzoni, a favourite gunsmith of the Grand Prince Ferdinando, decorated with fantastic, allegorical and mythological figures engraved in the bronze parts.

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7. The Room of the Scarabattola

The visit continues in the Sala della Scarabattola, named for the cabinet called a “scarabattola”, which is on the right as you enter.

Designed by Giovan Battista Foggini in the 18th century, this type of furniture was made to contain rare and valuable objects, such as some of those on display: the small oriental bowl in hyacinth – a precious stone from Asia – perhaps used to contain ointments, the document chest with the Cavalcanti family coat-of-arms or the bucchero vase of Mexican origin decorated with unusual bubbles on the body.

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8. The chamber of Isabella

We are now in the Camera di Isabella, room traditionally identified as the bedchamber of Isabella de ‘Medici, third-born daughter of Cosimo I and Eleonora of Toledo.

A cultured woman with great charm, Isabella, who had married Paolo Giordano Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, died in this room on July 16, 1576 at the age of 34, due to kidney disease.
The furnishings, paintings and other objects in the room help evoke the possible appearance of Isabella’s room. She is recalled in the portrait in the centre of the left wall, attributed to Alessandro Allori. The Duchess is depicted adorned with sophisticated jewels, a dress that is both sumptuous and austere, embellished on the left arm by the “sghiratto”, a ferret fur on which a gold head was mounted, secured at the waist by a precious chain. In her right hand, Isabella is holding a musical text that she composed and this same interest of hers is evoked by the 17th-century ottavino virginal, a keyboard instrument much appreciated for its sweet sound and playability, exhibited just below the portrait. Isabella’s family is instead shown in the neighbouring Portrait of the Medici as Saints, a genuine Sacred Conversation dated 1575, the work of Giovanni Maria Butteri. Isabella is portrayed on the left as Saint Catherine of Alexandria and behind her are her father Cosimo and her brother Ferdinando, impersonating saints Cosma and Damiano. The two holy warriors are instead associated with their brother Francesco and husband Paolo Giordano Orsini, while the Madonna and St. Anne are respectively the mother Eleonora and the grandmother Maria Salviati.

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9. The Ladies’ Drawing Room

The women who inhabited the villa over time are ideally evoked in the Salottino delle Dame, the Ladies’ Drawing Room, decorated in the early 19th century with romantic views.

The room, which recreates the atmosphere of a room intended for typically female activities, such as sewing, music, drawing, reading and chatting, has a neoclassical fire screen in carved and gilded wood, with feet decorated with plant motifs and the coping in the centre, between two cornucopias, embellished with an amphora with oak twigs. There is also a 17th-century birdcage in the shape of a galleon, which housed rare birds from distant lands.

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10. The Atrium of the Grooms and the Salon of the Horsemen

Going up the stairs to the first floor, stop to look at the tapestry on the back wall. The work, part of a series of tapestries known as Dei Castelli, woven by the Barberini tapestry workshop, can be dated around 1627 and represents the abbey of Grottaferrata.

Beyond a flowery landscape, in the background there is a rather detailed view of the monastery and garden, the annexed buildings and large courtyard with the fountain in the centre. This sort of citadel is enclosed by a turreted wall built by Giuliano della Rovere, future Pope Julius II, to protect the abbey. Take a good look at the tapestry. Doesn’t it seem as though you can see animals of all kinds and cows grazing next to a doe and a dromedary? The image may seem like a trick of the imagination or a whimsical detail added by the artisan but it is not. What you see, in fact, is a menagerie, where different animal species, domestic and wild, lived together.
On the opposite side of the atrium is a sedan chair, a means of transport used more consistently in the 17th and 18th centuries. This sedan chair, lacquered in black on the outside and decorated with grotesque motifs, was made in Italy in the mid-18th century. It housed only one passenger and was carried by bearers.
Let’s now go into the great salon, to stand in front of the Allegory of the Truth Revealing the Lie by Vincenzo Mannozzi, a Florentine painter in the service of the Medici. The painting depicts Prudence seated on a throne as she embraces the young woman who personifies Truth and tears a mask from the face of the Lie. Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere commissioned the artist to paint it around mid-17th century for the Villa di Poggio Imperiale, on the Arcetri hillside in Florence.
From the salon, decorated with neoclassical frescoes, such as the oval with the Triumph of Minerva surrounded by cupids and winged spirits in the centre of the vaulted ceiling, you can enter the other rooms on the floor where we will meet other members of the Medici family.

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11. The Room of the Popes and the Room of the Armoured Arm

The first room we come to is dedicated to two popes of the House of Medici: Leo X, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and his cousin Clement VII, born Giulio de’ Medici, portrayed some time after their death by Valore and Domenico Casini.

In the central display case are tooled and decorated leathers, called corami, already used in the time of Cosimo de’ Medici and his wife Eleonora as wall panels, alternatively or in addition to the tapestries. The showcase on the wall, on the other hand, contains fabrics from Florentine workshops and Renaissance majolica, such as the ceremonial or parade plate from the first half of the 16th century decorated with angelic figures opening the curtains of a canopy to reveal the Medici coat of arms surmounted by the ducal crown with three feathers emerging from it.
Beyond the Room of the Popes, you enter the Room of the Armoured Arm, named for the curious wooden arm attached to the wall, used as a sign holder in many aristocratic residences.
You may have noticed that the room also houses an unusual 17th-century Dutch school painting depicting a large clearing with many figures. It shows the game of paretaio, a sort of transposition of the “paretaio” hunt, which amused the aristocracy during their stays in country villas. What was the hunt “al paretaio”? Two walls of nets were stretched opposite each other with a bird at the centre, its song attracting other birds; the nets attached to the ground were operated by the fowler and snapped shut to imprison the birds. Similarly, in the painted scene, we see in the paretaio the busts of maidens that correspond to each of the ladies closed in elegant cages, trying to attract the cavaliers. The young suitors, in an attempt to seize the bust and conquer the girl, fall into the trap operated by the figures in the foreground, hidden inside a shed, thereby falling prey to female cunning! In the display case on the wall is a Florentine-made hunting sword with a narwhal tooth hilt and the Medici family coat-of-arms, referring to Grand Duke Cosimo III, engraved on the heel of the blade. This room also preserves the portrait of Don Giovanni de’ Medici, illegitimate son of Cosimo I and Eleonora degli Albizi. At his birth, which took place in 1567, his father gave him the Villa di Cerreto Guidi.

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12. The Room of Francesco de’ Medici

We continue the tour in the Sala di Francesco, named for the portrait of the second grand duke of Tuscany and the images of his two wives: Johanna of Austria, who married him for political reasons in 1565, and his beloved Bianca Cappello, his mistress. and then wife after Johanna’s death.

The other portraits instead show Maria de’ Medici, daughter of Francesco and Johanna, future queen of France, and Don Antonio, the result of the grand duke’s relationship with Bianca, born even before their wedding.
The controversial Bianca Cappello is also evoked in the room by the Venetian-made 17th-century cabinet decorated with polychrome glass inlays, recalling the woman’s origins. The majolica pieces displayed in the central showcase recall Francesco’s passion for these objects, many of which come from China. In fact, the grand duke founded his own ceramic factory in Florence.

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13. The Oriental Room

This room is decorated with late 18th-century frescoes depicting views and ruins in an imaginary countryside with monumental aqueducts, triumphal gates and bridges.

The room has a section dedicated to oriental art, with majolica, metal and bone objects and weapons. The works, from the Bardini collections, evoke the Medici’s special preference for artefacts from distant countries. Among these is the large engraved and beaten copper basin from the late 15th century. Made in Egypt, the basin has an engraving of the emblem of the dawdar, the scribe of the Mamluk kingdom. In the display case at the end, the Anatolian-made 16th-century archer’s ring in bone with brass inlays bears witness to the use of the Soriano bow. The ring, in fact, was used to protect the thumb when the string of this particular bow was pulled tight.

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14. Room of Ferdinando and Christina of Lorraine – Room of the Daughters of Ferdinando – Room of the Sons of Ferdinando

We continue the tour in the room dedicated to Ferdinando I, third Grand Duke of Tuscany, depicted with the insignia of the Order of the Knights of Santo Stefano, of which he was Grand Master, and his right arm resting on a Burgonet, an elegant helmet made for Henry II of France.

The object was a wedding gift from Caterina de’ Medici, grandmother of Christina of Lorraine, wife of Ferdinando. Christina is also portrayed in the room wearing an elaborate ruff that frames her face, and strings of pearls which she loved very much.
Among the weapons exhibited in the display case on the wall is a Florentine-made bullet-shooting crossbow called a “frullana” because it hit birds while they were “whirling” their wings, preparing to take flight.
The marriage between Ferdinando and Christina produced eight children: four girls and four boys. The next two rooms are dedicated to them, and display 17th-century portraits of the Florentine school. Exhibited here is a rare image of Maria Maddalena, the princess born with disfigurements, or “badly composed limbs”. At the age of twenty she withdrew to the convent of Crocetta, though without taking religious vows, and there she created her own personal court. Next to this is the portrait of Claudia, the youngest daughter of Ferdinando and Christina, first married to Federico Ubaldo della Rovere and later to Archduke Leopold V of Tyrol. Claudia, pictured here in widow’s clothing, was the mother of Vittoria della Rovere, who married her cousin Ferdinando II, becoming Grand Duchess of Tuscany.
The room dedicated to the sons of Christina and Ferdinando displays the portrait of Cosimo II, who succeeded his father in the government of Tuscany in 1609, at only 19 years of age. Cosimo had poor health and delegated the many affairs of state to his ministers and family, such as his mother, his brother Francesco, portrayed on his right, and his wife Maria Maddalena, on his left.
Before leaving the room, don’t forget to take a look at the rare 17th-century night clock by Parisian Nicolas Bernard, with the perforated numbers and hours, to be read transparently by the light of a candle placed inside. The copper dial is decorated with the image of Pan trying to grab the nymph Syrinx, of whom he was enamoured. The nymph, who did not reciprocate, begged her father Ladon to change her into a rush so that Pan would not recognize her. The scene features Syrinx who, while trying to escape, turns into a bending rush.

Watch the video with the opening of the cabinet kept in the Room of Ferdinando and Christina.

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15. The Room of Archaeology

The next room is decorated with imaginary views of fantastical ancient cities. Each wall features a scene framed by pilasters painted with friezes with monochrome representations of victories.

We see references to ancient Egypt in the pyramid and sphinxes and allusions to Etruria and ancient Rome in the forums, temples and large columns. The works on display are in harmony with the decoration of the room and evoke the collecting tastes of the Medici who, from the 15th century, also strived to possess ancient sculptures. The 19th-century painting by Amos Cassioli, with Lorenzo the Magnificent describing a cameo to Galeazzo Sforza, while in the background Poliziano and Marsilio Ficino show ancient codices to characters from the Sforza retinue, alludes to these very interests.

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16. The Loggias

Let’s leave the Room of Archaeology and go out into the Loggia, decorated in the late 18th century with faux architecture and ruins. Here we see medieval 11th and 12th century capitals, as well as an announcing Angel and a Virgin of the Annunciation from a funeral monument made by Paolo da Gualdo Cattaneo in 1417.

The statue, of the Florence area of the 15th century and missing the head, portrays San Lorenzo, recognisable by the richly decorated dalmatic he is wearing. In the Loggia there are also Florentine-made sculptural fragments attributable to the church of Santa Reparata, an ancient cathedral of Florence, such as the octagonal half-pillar, and the statue of a young prince of the Julio-Claudian dynasty of the second century AD, portrayed as Heracles.

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17. The Chapel and the Coretto

The Loggia takes us into the villa’s chapel where, above the altar, we find a painting from Andrea del Sarto’s circle, a copy of the Medici Holy Family today in the Palatine Gallery at Palazzo Pitti in Florence.

Exhibited in the confessional is the Lamentation over the Dead Christ by Guido Mazzoni, a group in polychrome terracotta, probably commissioned by the Este family of Ferrara. The work arrived in Cerreto Guidi from the Bardini legacy, and is a sort of rough preparation for the larger group, made by the artist for the church of San Michele del Gesù in Ferrara.
We continue until we reach the coretto, a kind of gallery overlooking the interior of the parish church of San Leonardo. From here the grand ducal family attended the religious services undisturbed, without having direct contact with the other worshipers.
Watch the video with the windows overlooking the nave.

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18. The Garden and the Loggias

Now let’s go back down to the ground floor and out to the small but charming Italian garden located at the rear of the villa. The garden, as we see it today, is the result of 18th-century alterations, therefore later than the Medici era.

The first mention of this space dates back to 1780, when the architect Gaspero Niccolò Maria Paoletti drafted a description of the villa that Grand Duke Peter Leopold was putting up for auction. Paoletti described this space as follows: “annexed to the villa on the eastern side is an almost square garden enclosed by walls of almost three stiora [the ancient measurement “stiora” equals 525,0076 square metres], with fruits and vines and there is a cistern with its purging houses and a preserve”. The cypresses, which today form the backdrop and surround the land, were instead planted in the late 19th century by the Geddes da Filicaia family.
The garden, which covers 1800 square metres, is divided into four beds outlined by a stone curb and characterized by a large centuries-old wisteria which acts as a pergola when in bloom. From the garden, one can access the loggias on the ground floor, where archaeological finds are preserved, including a funerary altar from the 1st century AD and a statue of a woman possibly reworked by the Bardinis between the 19th and 20th centuries, assembled with elements from different periods: the Roman torso and the head, not the original, showing the hairstyle with thick spiral curls, typical of Flavian women, in fashion from the early ‘80s of the 1st century AD.
Among the finds preserved in the loggia on the right are an Ionic capital and an architectural fragment of the mid-3rd century AD sculpted on three sides, as well as a headless statue of a woman from the early Imperial age. The figure wears a cloak on the left shoulder that suggests a representation of Artemis or a creature related to Dionysus.
To complete the visit, we invite you to go inside the ancient parish church, the Pieve di San Leonardo, owned by the Diocese of San Miniato, and located on your right as you exit the villa.

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19. The Underbuildings

The tour ends with a visit to the substructures, the rooms located beneath the stairways, once the villa stables, then used as cellars for the farm by the Geddes da Filicaia family.

Since 2010, the underbuildings have housed archaeological finds and statues from ancient and medieval times, expanding the museum tour.
At the entrance we are welcomed by a strigilated sarcophagus dating back to around 250 AD. Its front panel shows a sage in conversation with a muse; depicted on the side panels are two torch-bearing spirits. Continuing on the tour, we come to a statue whose current appearance was the choice of the antiquarian Stefano Bardini, who combined a bust of the Julius-Claudian age with a different marble head originally representing Tiberius. The head was reworked as Nero and later modified to portray the emperor Augustus. In the last room we can admire an extraordinary example of a 19th-century Florentine-made riverboat hunting lodge, which was placed on a floating barge to welcome hunters during their expeditions on rivers or in marshes. The lodge is decorated with gilded carvings, representations that refer to its use for hunting and neoclassical motifs, in the French style that arrived in Tuscany with Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi in the early 19th century.

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20. The Parish Church of San Leonardo

Near the villa is the Pieve di San Leonardo, whose origins are still mysterious to this day. It was probably the chapel belonging to the castle of the Guidi counts, which they dedicated to San Leonardo, to whom they were strongly devoted.

The numerous restorations have altered the church’s original structure, obliterating its medieval appearance to such an extent that in 1827 it was rebuilt from the foundations and re-consecrated. Inside the church, in the right aisle, is a 16th-century Crucifix in cork attributed to the workshop of Andrea di Piero Ferrucci, and a baptismal font by Giovanni della Robbia, decorated with scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist. In the left aisle, there is a canvas depicting St. Leonard or San Leonardo and which, according to tradition, is actually the painter Cristofano Allori portrayed as the holy martyr.

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