Medici Gardens: From Making to Design

By Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
Medici Gardens

Trebbio and Cafaggiolo

The earliest studies on the properties of Trebbio and Cafaggiolo date to the end of the eighteenth century. Then and throughout the nineteenth century the most common tendency in the study of Florentine villas was to describe them from the point of view of a traveler who gives a detailed account of the villas unfolding along his or her path during an imaginary tour across the countryside. Exemplary in this sense are the studies of Domenico Moreni, Guido Carocci, and Giuseppe Baccini, three Tuscan scholars whose archival research has thrown light on the origin and history of many properties of the contado fiorentino, and on the vicissitudes of their owners.1 In these studies, however, the information about the Medici gardens is scanty. In Il giardino italiano Luigi Dami explains why: “Cafaggiolo, in spite of Vasari’s assertion, probably never had gardens in the strict sense of the word. Even less Trebbio and the others.”2 A few years later, Rose Standish Nichols, drawing from Dami, Inigo Triggs, and Vernon Lee, writes, “After Cosimo’s purchase of Careggi, in his rebuilding of the old house and in the additions to the gardens, Renaissance influence becomes clearly apparent as it had not been in his castles—Trebbio and Cafaggiuolo—surrounded only by ilex woods and farmlands in the more remote valley in the Mugello” (emphasis added).3

Scholars writing during the second half of the twentieth century say something entirely different, namely, that the early Medici residences included designed gardens,4 which are often regarded as an anticipation of the Italian garden style, identified with the architectonic garden of Renaissance

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Medici Gardens: From Making to Design
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One- Medici Gardens 10
  • Chapter Two- From Work of Nature to Work of Art 88
  • Chapter Three- Writing the Garden in the Age of Humanism 99
  • Chapter Four- Practice and Theory 146
  • Conclusion 179
  • Appendix A- Letter by Galeazzo Maria Sforza 187
  • Appendix B- Metric Letter by Alessandro Braccesi 189
  • Notes 195
  • Bibliography 275
  • Photographic Acknowledgments 293
  • Index 295
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