VILLA LA PETRAIA and VILLA CORSINI
The Villa della Petraia is an enchanted but not well known place: the building is located on the charming terrace of Castello, a small hamlet just outside Florence. Among the most beautiful Medici villas for interiors and location, it is a succession of refinements, stories and intrigues. The residence was first owned by the Brunelleschi family, then sold to Palla Strozzi in 1422 and finally passed by the Salutati family to the Medici family. It was Cardinal Ferdinando, who became Grand Duke in 1587, who transformed the structure. The whole project, built around the 14th century central tower converted into a belvedere, focused on the garden divided into three magnificent areas: one of orchards of dwarf plants, another of flowerbeds and the third of trees and citrus. A few meters from Petraia is Villa Corsini. Also owned by Palla Strozzi, it then passed to the Rinieri family who submitted it to the first modifications. The garden, by Niccolò Tribolo, architect of Boboli, was enriched by statues, water features and geometric flower beds. Even the building was enlarged, bringing together the buildings under one impressive facade. The Villa passed to the Corsini family at the end of the 1600s, entrusting the changes in Baroque style to Giovan Battista Foggini. The Italian garden was divided into three environments: wild in the north, the exedra with the Four Seasons to the east and the geometric flower garden to the south, plus a large farm for vineyards and olive groves. Your trip outside will be all to be experienced and enjoyed!
THE HISTORIC HOUSES OF SETTIGNANO
In the east of Florence rises Settignano, another fraction of Florence full of villas that have made history: the actress Eleonora Duse lived in La Porziuncola and the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio rented La Capponcina to stay beside her. Villa Michelangelo is the place where the great sculptor Bonarroti spent the first years of his life. Villa Gamberaia has been named "Best Foreign Garden of 2016". The advice is to organize short trips to admire these villas, certainly you will be enchanted!
THE MUSEUM OF CASA MARTELLI
Casa Martelli is located in an alley in the historic center. Since it did not have its own park, the owners thought well to paint one of the halls as if it were a large outdoor garden, creating a multicolored visual effect full of balustrades, fountains and panoramic views. Each room has been conceived as an episode in itself: the Salone Giallo and the Salone Rosso, the Pucci lounge with its "caves", the bathroom with bucolic scenes, a spectacular staircase, the ballroom, the chapel and the impressive Quadreria. This museum also preserves paintings by Bruegel the Younger, Luca Giordano, Piero di Cosimo, Salvator Rosa, Beccafumi and other masters, a must see!
THE ZODIAC OF SAN MINIATO
What does the zodiac have to do with, known to all as a pagan symbol, with Christianity? The figurative heritage of astrology was absorbed by the Church to the point that each of the twelve signs is full of Christian concepts. This is why on the aisle of San Miniato al Monte there is a marble Zodiac, perhaps among the most remarkable in Italy. A recent study reveals that it is a real philosophical machine, connected to many symbols present in the basilica and on its façade and symbolizes the relationship between the human being, Christ, and the motion of the sun. The entire structure was built on the number 5, golden number, of the sun but also a symbol of the spiritual quintessence and of man rooted in the spirit. An image of the sun appears also in the center and the signs of the constellations are inserted in a circle inscribed in a square: in the sacred geometry the circle is connected to the representation of the cosmos while the square is the earth and space-time. The whole of the two figures therefore represents the awareness that heaven and earth are bound: what happens in heaven is reflected in the earth and vice versa.
THE CLET STREET-ART
While walking through Florence, you will come across some of Clet Abraham's mocking creations that blend perfectly with the numerous road signs. From Santa Croce to Santo Spirito to Campo di Marte and the Statute: where there is a road rule Clet arrives, which recalls with his works the alienation of contemporary society. His famous stickers are now an integral part of the city. It is practically impossible to record all the small incursions by the artist that have now become a true phenomenon of pop art: widespread, accepted and characteristic. Thanks to the Breton painter and sculptor (but Florentine by adoption) we come across stop signs that change into men crushed by the weight of the rules, streets without exit that become contemporary crucifixes, unique senses that smile at the ttraffic and parking restrictions that become Spiderman novels. So, walking through the streets of Florence, watch out for the sign!