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In search of the Medici

The territories of the municipalities of Carmignano and Poggio a Caiano were, among the different Tuscan possessions of the Medici, those preferred by Lorenzo the Magnificent, by Francesco I and Grand Duke Ferdinando, each of them lovers of beautiful country houses, nature, hunts, and great feasts in the gardens.
In 1473/74 Lorenzo the Magnificent (1440-1492), the most enlightened member of the family, bought a "casa da signore" (mansion) in Poggio a Caiano on a small hill near the Ombrone torrent and, in later times, the vast uncultivated surrounding land.
The project of the Magnificent involved the renovation of the house into a new villa as a noble residence and center of a vast estate, according to the Renaissance architectural thought of Leon Battista Alberti, which envisaged a new relationship between building and nature.
The Poggio a Caiano Medicean complex consists of the Villa and its park, the Scuderie and the Cascine di Tavola. The structures and the arrangement of the cultivated land of the attached farm must be also appreciated. In this way it will be possible to evaluate the importance of the innovative genius of the Magnificent and his architects. The other great Medici Villa of Artimino La Ferdinanda was built by the Grand Duke Ferdinando I (1549-1609) on the homonymous hill at the end of the sixteenth century. The imposing building is located at the center of the Barco Reale, a great hunting reserve, treated with great interest by the Grand Duke itself.
Since 2014 both villas have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
To discover all the fascinating Medici testimonies in our territories, it is possible to walk the Medici Route, a 78.3 km path that connects Prato to Fucecchio and can be done in 4 or more days. A unique and original journey through history in which landscapes, works of art, architecture, nature, typical products are intertwined with the characters and stories of the Medici.