An Inspired Visit to Villa Gamberaia

“The villa stands nobly on a ridge overlooking the village of Settignano and the wide-spread valley of the Arno”

… so begins Edith Wharton’s description of the Villa Gamberaia in Florence.

 For over twenty years I’ve had with me in my studios a first edition copy of Edith Wharton’s “Italian Villas and Gardens”, published in 1904 and beautifully illustrated by Maxfield Parrish.Somehow the book survived my many moves and travels and now, 110 years after Edith’s visit, I was able to see the magnificent villa and visit its famous gardens for myself. Dear friends Laura and Valentina Boyer invited us last week  for a private visit to the grounds.
Valentina is one of Tuscany’s premier events planners and organizes all activities for the Villa. 
On this morning, after a decidedly Tuscan April shower, we were able to see the the Villa in all of its splendor, Maxfield Parrish skies included.
“The house is small yet impressive.”  declares Edith, matter of factly.
I suppose if you’re comparing it to Versailles or the estate in “Downton Abbey”, it is on the smallish side.

Built in 1610, the Villa has survived wars and occupations, but still retains its distinctly Tuscan grace and elegance. 

“The real value of the old Italian garden plan is that logic and beauty meet in it, as they should in all sound architectural work…” 
Si, Cara Edith… indeed…as they say here in Tuscany…Certo!
Grazie to Valentina for taking her time for us and Roberto and Laura for a truly inspirational day in Settignano…
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