Villa Oliva Buonvisi

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Villa Oliva, in San Pancrazio, on the slopes of the Pizzorne plateau, got its name from the Genoese family who became its owner around the first decades of the XX century. However, the history of this estate is very ancient, and its origins can be traced back to the early XV century to Bonviso di Corrado, a German adviser to Emperor Otto III.


The harmony of the shapes and the orderly balance between “full” and “empty” spaces typical of the Renaissance period are the work of the architect and sculptor Matteo Civitali, who created several other architectural masterpieces in Tuscany, including Palazzo Pretorio in Lucca.

Two main avenues define the three areas of the property: the first avenue, flanked by cypresses, leads to the villa, while the second, with hornbeam trees, runs parallel to the noble abode.
The villa has two overlapping halls in the central part with the typical porticoed loggia consisting of five arches and four linear and imposing columns; the latter are made of a single block of “Matraia” stone, rising up embedded within two floors.


The park of the Villa, entirely fenced, extends for about 12 acres and is made of several types of gardens. Everything looks even more beautiful thanks to several original fountains. Water has never been scarce in this area.

The garden in front of the building has a double slope rising north and east. Terraces were thus used to compensate for the difference in height. Scattered throughout the park, there are many other arboreal creations such as a beautiful belvedere covered by arched yews, bordered by a balustrade with columns that opens onto the garden and the surrounding hills. The presence of stone and terracotta statues remind us of the original purpose this place: a barn owl and a statue of Diana sit in a grove of holm oaks (Quercus ilex), originally planted as a ”ragnaia” (several tall trees fitted with nets to catch small birds).

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)



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