The Tuscan villa - an architectural classic
Villa Gamberaia as an expression of the Renaissance concept of civilised living
Villa Gamberaia near Florence
Villa Gamberaia dates from the 14 C and is located near
Settignano, just outside Florence. Gamberaia is one of the most famous of the classic Florentine
villas, known in particular for its splendid italianate garden.
Edith Wharton attributed the survival of the garden of Villa Gamberaia to the
obscurity of the villa during the 19 C. While prominent gardens with richer owners had their historic features
"improved" out of existence, Villa Gamberaia slumbered on
until it was purchased in 1895 by Princess Jeanne Ghyka, sister of Queen Natalia of
Serbia, who lived there with her American companion, Miss Blood, and
painstakingly restored both the villa and particularly its garden. During World War II, the villa was
very badly damaged when the retreating Germans set it on fire. Marcello Marchi
bought the villa from the Vatican in 1954 to whom it had been donated by
the American-born Baroness von Ketteler. Marchi restored the villa and
gardens using old prints, maps and photographs for guidance. The villa
remains in private hands to this day, maintained by Luigi Zalum, son-in-law of Marcello Marchi,
and his sons.
Villa Gamberaia embodies exactly the Renaissance concept of a villa -
derived from Classical writings - as a place of repose set in cultivated
countryside, with panoramic views and where the garden is designed to
be, in effect, an extension of the interior of the villa.
about the concept of the villa in Renaissance times.
villa in Tuscany history and culture.
Tuscan villa bibliography.
Stay at Villa Gamberaia
Amazingly, it is possible to rent holiday
accommodation in Villa Gamberaia itself and in the
converted farm buildings around it. The various
apartments are exquisitely furnished with antique
furniture and offer every modern comfort. This is an
unparallelled opportunity to spend your vacation in one
of the most famous villas in Italy! More
to stay at Villa Gamberaia.
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