Villa Pratolino or Villa Demidoff in Florence

On this page we are happy to give you some information about the Villa Medici Pratolino and its wonderful garden.

The Villa Medici Pratolino is also known by the name of Villa Demidoff. It was Francis I, the eldest son of Cosimo I de' Medici, who in 1569 wanted and conceived the construction of this villa at the foot of the Apennines. The area where they decided to build the property was far from Florence, in a rather hostile territory. Nevertheless, Francis I wanted this house to represent the magnificence and luxury with precious marbles, statues, precious stones and automata which regulated games of the water fountains in the garden. The cost for this project was enormous: 782,000 shields, double the expenditure for the Uffizi.

The irregularity of the terrain meant that the huge park around the villa was full of ravines and caves, interspersed with fountains and pools with stunning water features. Among the caves we recall in particular the Grotto of the Deluge, Galatea, the stove, the sponge and the Samaritan woman. The Cave of the Samaritan woman was also the secret hiding place where Francis met with Bianca Cappello when they wanted solitude and privacy.
Bernardo Buontalenti was the architect chosen by Francis I for this villa, but many other artists worked there: Bartolomeo Ammannati Cioli Valerio, Vincenzo Danti and Giambologna. Of the latter the famous masterpiece called Colossus of the Apennines of the about 1580. The Colossus of the Apennines was placed along the Fountain of Jupiter to the north of the longitudinal axis on which stood the house and that, proceeding southward, provided other works such as the street called Strada delle pile, the Park of the Ancients and the Fountain of the washerwoman.

Unfortunately, this extravagant architectural example of the marriage between nature, art and technology was abandoned for centuries and in 1820 was even shot down with mine. In 1872 the villa was purchased by the Russian princes Demidoff who restored it and since 1981 it is owned by the Province of Florence.
A selection of our most requested villas in the area:
Villa Simone Luxury villa sleeping 8 a few kilometres from Gambassi Terme, in the heart of Florence countryside. Garden, swimming pool, hydromassage, Internet connection. Tennis court, riding stable and golf club nearby. Possibility of organising horseback and mountain-bike rides in the neighbourhood. More details
Villa Montespertoli Villa for holidays on the hills of the Florentine countryside. Accommodation for 12+2 people, garden, private swimming pool, hydro massage, Internet connection. More details
Villa San Godenzo Villa with annexed cottage sleeping 6 in Valdisieve, near San Godenzo (Florence). Garden, barbecue, whirlpool swimming pool, air conditioning, Internet connection. A few kilometres from Lake Bilancino and the National Park of Casentino Forests. More details
Villa Anietta Small villa sleeping 6 near Reggello, in Valdisieve, just a few kilometres from Florence. Swimming pool, Internet connection, air conditioning. Cooking lessons, dinners and guided tours are organised upon request. More details