|The garden in the Medieval period, after Rome fell, was inward oriented and defensive. It was the inner world, the world of God, which the Medieval monk and intellectual wished to consider. But with the Renaissance a greater interest in secular matters, as well as increased wealth and prosperity, changed society and the garden. Country residences became less fortress-like and began to take an outward orientation - like the villa at Torre Annuziata near Pompeii more than a thousand years earlier.
This image of the Villa Medici in the small town of Fiesole near Florence was taken from the road to the village and illustrates the steep hillside site.
There are country villas near Florence that are older than the Villa Medici at Fiesole but they are transitional from the Medieval period. Typically they are based on a modified medieval castle. Some of the defensive elements of the castles were removed to respond to the new impulse toward country estates. However, the villa at Fiesole was a new design based on Renaissance ideas not associated with the farm or castle.
Villa Medici at Fiesole was designed by Michelozzo Michelozzi and built between 1458 and 1462. It was owned by Giovanni son of Cosimo Medici the elder.
The image below is a topographic map of the Arno river valley and the surrounding hills. The black dots show the location of Renaissance villas. The Villa Medici at Fiesole is represented by the red asterisk.
1458 -1462 Villa Medici was built for Giovanni son of Cosimo Medici the elder.
1772 - Villa Medici was purchased by Margaret, Lady Orford. When she had the villa remolded, she died 1781.
1782 - The Villa was owned by Mozzi who is believed to be responsible to the alterations of the villa.
In the mid nineteenth century the villa was sold to William Blundell Spence. No major work was done on the villa while Spence owned it.
In the early twentieth century Lady Sybil Cuttingscott-Lubbock bought the villa.
In 1959 the Villa was purchased by Aldo Mazzini who it still belongs to today.