Villa di Cafaggiolo is one of the most connected villas in the history of the Medici family. It became a summer residence of the family since the mid 14th century. It was restructured by Michelozzo on commission of Cosimo il Vecchio between 1428 and 1451. It seems to have inspired the structure of a medieval fortress: two towers, a moat and a drawbridge.
Of Renaissance origin there are the gardens, the streets, the fountains and the woods around the villa.
Villa di Cafaggiolo was especially loved by Lorenzo de ‘Medici and probably composed here “La Nencia da Barberino”.
By the will of Pierfrancesco de ‘Medici at the beginning of 1500, a ceramic factory was created at the villa which remained active until 1599. The majolica factory produced beautiful masterpieces not only for the Medici family but also for institutions such as ‘Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence.
Cafaggiolo became the property of Cosimo I in 1537, which expanded the villa, made a hunting reserve and built the stables on the left.
Subsequently the Villa passed to the Lorena family, which continued to use it for the vacation. During this time the central tower was demolished.
In 1864 it was sold to Prince Borghese who made some modifications: he opened a great arch in the walls to create access to the villa. Cafaggiolo then passed to the family Generini.
Between 1886 and 1887, Leto and Dario Chini, made decorations in the ground floor halls. Inside are kept copies, a series of portraits of famous figures belonging to the Medici house, made by Fontanarosa, ancient majolica of the Medicean furnace, Renaissance costumes and written testimonies of the guests staying in this villa. The interior was modified between 1800 and 1900.
In 1936 it was purchased by Enrico Scaretti. Then he went to the Congregation of the Trappist Friars. Since 1965 it has been bought by several companies and the villa was used for ceremonies and congresses. Since 2013, Villa has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Villa di Cafaggiolo today and in the future
Today Villa belongs to the Lowenstein family that bought it in 2009. It will turn into a luxurious and huge resort. In the project there are 356 suites, 14 restaurants, cooking schools, 12 bars, polo fields, soccer and horse riding, 30 km of nature trails, 3 spas, a medicean museum and one of contemporary art, ponds and swimming pools.
Lowenstein also wants to move the road to the hill to divert traffic from his resort.