Poggio a Caiano

Province of Prato, Tuscany, Italy

Poggio a Caiano
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About Poggio a Caiano

Poggio a Caiano is a town and comune in the province of Prato, in the Tuscany Italy region. The city, the birthplace of Filippo Mazzei, is located 9 kilometers (6 miles) south of the provincial capital of Prato.

Sister cities

Poggio a Caiano has two sister cities:

Charlottesville, Virginia

Agounit, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

Main attractions

The Medici villa

In 1473, a ruined fortified house in Poggio a Caiano called Ambra, and the land and a mill owned by Giovanni di Paolo Rucellai, were purchased by Lorenzo de 'Medici. Initially, only agricultural improvements were made; then in 1485 work began on the villa itself, designed by Giuliano da Sangallo, who created a large quadrangular and fortified country house built around a central courtyard. A large central room gave access to the rooms with windows overlooking the surrounding countryside; at that time, this design was innovative.

Upon Lorenzo's death in 1492, the villa was still largely unfinished; however, the work resumed under Lorenzo's second son, Giovanni, who became pope as Leo X. The central room takes its name from this first Medici pope.

In the following century, the Villa of Poggio a Caiano was used by the subsequent Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany. In 1587, Bianca Cappello and Francesco I de 'Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany died there within a day after brief illnesses; raising the still unsolved question of their poisoning by the brother of Francesco Ferdinando, who succeeded Francesco as Ferdinando I de 'Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the architects Giuseppe and Giovan Battista Ruggeri and Antonio Maria Ferri enlarged the villa. Important improvements to the gardens were also made after it became the property of Maria Luisa, queen of Etruria.

After the Italian unification, the villa was renovated and used by Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy. The villa was donated to the Italian state in 1919. After a long period of abandonment it became a national museum in 1984 and has since been restored. It is now open to the public.

The main attractions of the villa are the Pontormo frescoes depicting Vertumno and Pomona in the main hall. Most of the interiors have lost their original furnishings, but these are recreated to return the villa to the state described in an inventory from 1911, when it was a Savoy residence. The formal gardens, now a little wild, descend towards the Ombrone at the back of the villa. Poggio also contains in the north-east corner of the formal garden the tennis court of Cosimo I (1543) intact but no longer in use. The palatoia (as the courtyard was called in Tuscany - elsewhere known as "pallacorda") was built for Cosimo I at the same time as his courtyard at Palazzo Pitti. Italian Renaissance "tennis" was extremely popular at court and on the streets as in France, where sport is known as "jeu de paume". "Real tennis" (as it is called today), which requires a personalized court with elaborate internal playing surfaces, is the model of modern tennis although the sport practiced in the Renaissance continues to be practiced today with 46 active courts in France, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The villa was featured in the 1965 film John Schlesinger Darling.


Santa Maria del Rosario in Poggio a Caiano

Church at the Institute of Minor Sisters of Poggio a Caiano

Parish Church of Poggetto

Chapel of Villa Castellaccio

San Francesco in Bonistallo

Santa Maria in Bonistallo

Santa Cristina in Santa Cristina in Pilli

The temple of Diana in the Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano


Medici Villa in Poggio a Caiano

Villa Cirri in Poggio a Caiano

Villa Pacetti in Poggio a Caiano

Villa Il Cerretino in Il Cerretino

Villa Il Poggiale in Il Poggiale

Villa Il Castellaccio in Madonna del Violo

Villa Magra in Madonna del Violo

Villa Mastringalla in Poggetto

Other attractions

Medici Park in Poggetto

Old palace with tower in Santa Cristina in Pilli

Filippo Mazzei's birthplace in Poggio a Caiano

The fountain of Bacchus in Poggio a Caiano

Town hall of Poggio a Caiano

Medici stables in Poggio a Caiano


Siege of the Villa of Poggio a Caiano, held in September

Antiques fair in Poggio a Caiano

Hills Festival, held throughout the province of Prato

Source: Wikipedia
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poggio_a_Caiano