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Villa Bardini Garden

Villa Bardini Garden Discover Florence from Pensione Bencistà Villa Bardini Garden is one of the lesser-known corners of the city, yet it seduces visitors with its pleasant environment and the wonderful views over Florence that can be enjoyed from the terrace. The history itself of Villa Bardini is fascinating. The property belonged to Stefano Bardini, a prominent art dealer and antiquarian. When the last member of the family passed away, the Villa was subject to inheritance disputes and left in a state of neglect. Thanks to the intervention of various political forces, the will of Ugo Bardini was finally implemented, and the property was donated to the city of Florence. Carefully restored, the garden is now open to the public and can be visited with a single ticket in combination with the nearby Boboli Gardens. The garden reflects the taste of its various owners, who lived it and modified it ever since the Middle Age. Bardini implemented the largest number of renovations and placed important statues in the garden (some of which have been lost). He removed the medieval elements and built the main avenue, while keeping some of the existing features like the grove, the English and baroque garden […]

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Pensione Bencistà and the prominent people of Florence

Pensione Bencistà and the prominent people of Florence Leonardo Ximenes and the Ximenian Observatory (also called Observatory of San Giovannino) On December 27th, 1716 a man was born in Trapani who, through his studies and hydraulic works, would give prestige to the scientific culture of Florence: Leonardo Ximenes. Right in front of the incomplete façade of the Church of San Lorenzo stands a building surmounted by a small white dome, which can be seen from several viewpoints of the city: it’s the Ximenian Observatory, one of Italy’s meteorological and geophysical observatories, which is part of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology. It is located on the top floor of the convent of San Giovannino (hence the name) which is run by the Piarist Fathers, in the same building where, in 1756, it had been founded by the Jesuit Leonardo Ximenes. The works of Leonardo Ximenes are numerous and varied. Born in Trapani, he was then transferred to Tuscany by the Society of Jesus. Here he dedicated himself to hydraulics studies, supervising important works such as the reclamation of the Maremma area. The Grand Duke of Tuscany chose him as a cartographer and engineer, consulting him on important issues. Today many […]

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Pietro il Gottoso (Peter the Gouty)

Pietro il Gottoso (Peter the Gouty) June 14th 2016 marks the 600th anniversary of the birth of Pietro de’ Medici, also known as Peter the Gouty. Son of Cosimo ‘the Elder’ and father of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Peter’s fame has been overshadowed by these two notable persons of Florence’s history, but in reality he was a politician and patron of the arts of considerable importance. Not only he managed to strengthen the political power of the House of Medici, but he also continued the patronage activity started by his father Cosimo. In particular, Peter began to collect fine items such as cameos, tapestries and gems, which were considered of great value for the social prestige of European courts. He also engaged in the collection of books, studied Flemish art and commissioned important works of art and architecture. The introduction of the lily flower on the family coat of arms is also ascribed to him. Louis XI gave Peter the honor to decorate one of the balls on the Medici coat of arms with golden lilies on a blue shield. Until then, the lily had only represented the Houses of Anjou. From the French lily descended the Florentine symbol. In 1444 […]

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