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 façade 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
The decoration of the central salone glorifying the
Medici family is one of the most important fresco cycles of 16th-century
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
Following a revised programme by Vincenzo Borghini, the
decoration was completed for Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici from 1578–82 by Alessandro
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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