Tuscan villa vacation rentals

Accommodations in a Tuscan villa for your holiday in Tuscany

The expression Tuscan villa (and hence Tuscan villa vacation rentals) alludes not simply to a patrician house but to a house set in a garden and a wider landscape - a concept derived from the villas of Augustan Rome via the Renaissance. The ever-adaptable Florentines, as well as the Anglo-Florentines who settled in Tuscany in significant numbers during the late 19 C, surrendered to the fad for "English" gardens, with lawns and flowers and plantations of exotic trees. In Italian Gardens and Villas, published in 1904, Edith Wharton lamented that "there is perhaps no region in Italy so rich in villas and so lacking in old gardens as the neighbourhood of Florence." In fact, the Neoclassical garden, which had been considered indispensable through the 17 C and 18 C, was quite "independent of floriculture," as Wharton wrote, its three constituent elements being "marble, water, and perennial verdure." The garden was meant to harmonise both with the fully man-made world of the villa behind it and with the natural world of the podere, or farm, beyond. In the time since Wharton wrote, the wheel of fashion has turned and a great many Renaissance gardens have been restored, to the extent that finding a giardino all'inglese surrounding a Tuscan villa is now a rare experience.

During the 19 C and especially during the Tuscan building boom that followed the unification of Italy in 1861, Florence having been the capital of Italy from 1865 to 1870, a great many new villas were constructed, modelled in a simplified manner on those of the Renaissance. One of those most involved in this burst of architectural activity was Giuseppe Poggi (Florence April 3, 1811 - Florence, March 5, 1901), an architect and engineer, who was appointed in 1864 to develop a new urban plan for the city of Florence, to adapt it to its function as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy and to preserve it from flooding (but not from the disastrous flood of November 4, 1966, unfortunately). Poggi, inspired by the Parisian grand boulevards, knocked down the walls of Florence north of the Arno and replaced them with the "circovallazione" avenues, isolating the English cemetery and, south of the Arno, created the avenue leading to the Piazzale Michelangelo. He also did a great deal of architectural work on behalf of the Florentine aristocracy, involving the creation, renovation and modernisation of villas and palaces, particularly in the suburban villas of the hills that surround Florence.

Tuscan Villa Villas of Tuscany

Villa La Petraia - a Tuscan villa

casa colonica - a Tuscan farmhouse

A casa colonica - a Tuscan farmhouse

For most visitors to Tuscany, experiencing a Tuscan villa involves a visit to one of the magnificent Medicean villas in the vicinity of Florence and in the native territory of the Medici, the Mugello (Villa Medicea di Cafaggiolo and Villa Demidoff). Tuscan villa vacation rentals are usually not true villas at all, but rather stand-alone Tuscan farm houses (case coloniche) suitable for a single family or a group of up to something like eight people. Usefully, current fashion dictates that most case coloniche have external walls in unplastered stone while villas are plastered and painted pale brown or apricot in colour. Tuscan villas are also often characterised by a small tower, turret or dovecote (colombaia) set into the roof. Nevertheless, there are Tuscan villas in the original sense available to holiday makers.

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