The Tuscan landscape has been charming travelers since the Middle Ages: the construction of villas, to enjoy views and sights, and of gardens, to experience the emotion of landscape in a smaller scale, has created in and around Florence a magical combination of art and nature.
In the suburbs of Florence the Medici built a large number of villas to be dedicated to agricultural production or to enjoy a healthier climate, or else to have a pleasant and inspiring meeting place. In the villa Petraia, dominating the plain from a hilltop, now a nice terraced garden, lavish rooms await visitors: frescoes and furniture from the XVII to the XIX century reflect the pomp surrounding every aspect of the Medici life.
At the Villa Reale in Castello nature, politics and art blend among grottos, symbolic ascents, the extraordinary collection of citruses and the secluded secret garden. The Medici villas are among UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Hidden by walls or gates there are more private and secluded gardens (the elegant Corsini sul Prato, the mysterious Torrigiani, the spectacular Bardini) and their variety and differences testify to how gardens have responded and transformed according to symbolic and social issues throughout the centuries.
From the end of the XIX century the rediscovery of the formal gardens and the passion for life in the open air have contributed to the restoration and creation of more gardens, especially thanks to the many foreign residents on the hills: the Villa Gamberaia in Settignano or Villa Le Balze and Villa Peyron with breathtaking views on Florence.
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