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Villa Medici, Poggio a Caiano

Villa Medici Description

Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano is an Italian villa situated about 20 km north-west of Florence, near Prato.

It is one of the few 15th-century villas surrounding Florence to survive the Spanish siege of 1529, it was designed for Lorenzo di Medici by Giuliano da Sangallo and begun in 1485.

Only the front third of the villa was completed by 1494 when the Medici were expelled from Florence, and the large central salon and rear third of the villa were completed to Sangallo’s design in 1515–19 by the Medici pope Leo X.

Monumental in scale, the Villa Medici in Poggio a Caiano is raised on a balustraded podium with a groin-vaulted arcade. Above the podium the piano nobile is reached by two semicircular staircases built in the 17th century to replace the original horse-ramps that ran at angles to the entrance.

The fa├žade is articulated by a pedimented temple front set on four widely spaced Ionic columns in antis. This Classical feature, here applied to the Renaissance villa for the first time, later became the hallmark of Palladio’s villas, though in a more architecturally integrated form.

Villa Medici's plan is strictly symmetrical (also a feature of Palladio’s villas), with the barrel-vaulted salone at its centre having curved terracotta coffering, cast using a technique adapted from ancient Roman practice and, according to Vasari, first tried out in Sangallo’s own house in Florence.

The decoration of the central salone glorifying the Medici family is one of the most important fresco cycles of 16th-century Florentine art.

Begun in 1520 by Andrea del Sarto (Tribute to Caesar),Franciabigio (Triumph of Cicero) and Jacopo da Pontormo (Vertumnus and Pomona), following a programme by Paolo Giovio, work stopped with Leo X’s death in 1521. In 1531 Pope Clement VII commissioned Pontormo to complete the frescoes, but beyond drawings little was done.

Following a revised programme by Vincenzo Borghini, the decoration was completed for Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici from 1578–82 by  Alessandro Allori.

Villa Medici Map&Location

Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano: Piazza dei Medici, 14, 59016 Poggio a Caiano Prato, Italy. Get help with directions using the map provided bellow:

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Villa Medicea Photos

Photos from - Click on the images to enlarge
Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano
Villa Medicea Fresco
Villa Poggio a Caiano by Giovanni Stradano
Villa Medicea 1801
Villa Poggio a Caiano - limonaia
Villa Medicea La scala di Bianca Cappello
Photo by Bernhard Benke
Villa Medici Poggio a Caiano