is rich with Villas which for the most part were constructed
between 1400 and the end of the 1800s. They are mostly concentrated
in three zones: surrounding Firenze, and in the Lucca
and Siena areas. It does not need to be said that the most beautiful
of these were constructed by the Medici family.
The Villa is a genteel and comfortable construction, fairly close
to the city, which substituted the Spartan Medieval castles;
here the gentlefolk not only rested in the idleness of the
countryside, but amused themselves hunting in the surrounding
parks and playing host to friends and men of culture,
whom they entertained with learned conversation. An essential
element of any Villa was the garden, where ingenious architects
organised plants, fountains and wonderful water games, sadly
for the most part now lost.
Today many antique Villas and their parks have been restored
and it is possible to visit them.