Villa Capponi

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Villa Capponi is in the town of Arcetri (Florence) and was transformed into a grand country palace with a tower in the second half of the XVI century; it was Gino Capponi, member of an ancient noble family from Florence, to operate this change.
In 1882, the villa was purchased by Lady Scott, the daughter of the Duke of Portland: she was the one who built the two lodges. In 1928, it was sold to Henry Clifford, the curator of the paintings of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, who had the garden rebuilt according to a design by Cecil Pinsent (1930) and added a chapel decorated with a Nativity by Tommaso di Stefano. The garden was restored in 2002.


The building, with a simple layout, is embellished by two XIX century loggias. The facade on the street is simple and fitted with buttresses give it an imposing look. At the centre, there’s the main arched portal with a stone frame; a secondary portal is surmounted by a tympanum, while four kneeling windows open to the left.


It is believed that when Gino Capponi bought the villa, the garden behind it had already been built. The latter though, acquired its current look thanks to Ferdinando Carlo Capponi who performed some grafting of 1.600 boxwood plants following his true passion for botany.
The garden, consisting of terraces placed on different levels, extends along the slope of “Pian dei Giullari” hill – on this relief a remarkable view of the city of Florence can be enjoyed throughout the year.
The garden features a large lawn in front of the house and three smaller green areas built in later periods and bordered by walls with scroll decorations; then there’s the lemon garden, erected in 1774 by Ferdinando Carlo Capponi, the secret garden below the main floor of the villa and built at the end of the XVI century, and the rose garden commissioned in 1882 by Lady Scott – a walled garden rising below the secret garden and mimicking the ornamental theme of the garden walls.

Finally, Henry Clifford asked the English landscape architect Cecil Pinsent to build a swimming pool in the lower part of the garden. Pinsent created a tub inspired by Renaissance pools and fountains; he decorated it with a mask with a jet of water and alternating statues and benches. Eventually, he surrounded the tub with high cypress hedges, giving much more intimacy to the whole place.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Via Pian dei Giullari - Firenze(FI)

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