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certaldo alto

Who wanted to build the villa of Carreto Guidi? It was commissioned by Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici (1519-1574), who spent a lot of time in this area rich in forests and particularly suitable for the hunting expeditions of the court.

cerreto guidi la villa medicea

The villa was built between 1564 and 1567. Construction work for the villa began in the winter of 1564 and continued until 1567, with an intermediate break of about a year.
In comparison with previous models, this villa has new elements in the volumetric solutions and in some formal details of the façades, characterized by sober decorative aspects, reduced to a few elements, ashlars around the front door, the frames and the small shelves of the windows, and worth as much as evocative codes of recognition of the design commissioned by princes, which insisted on the sober simplicity and traditional solutions: the hipped roof, plastered barrel or groin vaults, wooden floor slabs, terracotta floors, all elements placed side by side with the regularity and repetitiveness of the façades.
A tragic event marked the history of the Villa, as here died Isabella, the favourite daughter of Cosimo I and Eleonor of Toledo, married in 1558, as soon as she turned sixteen, to Paolo Giordano belonging to the powerful Orsini family from Rome.
Guilty for having betrayed her husband, Isabella was killed by strangulation with the help of hired killers, in order to wash the shame, right in the Villa of Cerreto Guidi, on the 15th of July 1576 at night.
Today, the Medici Villa hosts the Historical Hunting and Territorial Museum, which partly occupies the rooms on the upper floor and is mainly dedicated to hunting and shooting weapons and anything related to them, during the period between the Middle Ages and the Modern Age.
More than 500 specimens are preserved here, partly inherited by antiques dealer Stefano Bardini, who died in 1922, and acquired by the Italian Government only in1997, partly no longer used by the police authorities, partly coming from deposits, donations and temporary borrowing.
Since 2002, it has hosted an important art gallery, paintings coming from the Medici collections, mostly typical of Grand Ducal iconography, but it especially offers a wide and selected exhibition of works of the most different artistic types and ages, from ancient times to the Twentieth Century, coming from the Bardini collections and also presented, especially with regard to stone artifacts,  in external loggias and in the areas under the “scalere” (stareways) drawn by Bernardo Buontalenti.
As all the other Medici Villas of Tuscany also this one is a World Heritage for UNESCO.


Published: 22/2/2013

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