American in Italy, culture, expat, food, history, italy, nature, travel, tuscany, Uncategorized

“Room with a View”

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Last week I got the great opportunity to tour the incredible Villa di Maiano and {Fattoria di Maiano – post coming later}. This historical gem is where several scenes were filmed from James Ivory’s “Room with a View”, the director himself fell in love with this location.  The views from this prime spot in the Tuscan hills is incredible – each angle more beautiful than the last, even now after so many years living in Italy, the stunning landscape of this country never ceases to amaze me.

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Well hello there Duomo!

Well hello there Duomo!

The Villa {owners residence of the next-door fattoria} has a long history of ownership including being owned by the famous and powerful Florentine noble family – Pazzi. Eventually it was purchased by Sir John Temple Leader in 1850, an English politician who soon fell in love with the property and hired architect Felice Francolini to restore the villa to its historical splendidness. And that he did – from the large lions in the front entryway to the huge ballroom, no detail was overlooked.

Swimming pool of the villa

Swimming pool of the villa

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Our guide (the Villa itself offers guided tours to anyone interested) told us about the history of this villa and like everything in Italy, no detail is ever too small. From the plaques holding famous crests to the gold-leaf frames, everything has a story.

The spot where Lucy & George share their first kiss

The spot where Lucy & George share their first kiss

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/558853_10151132616147066_1487775899_n.jpg The inside of the villa is incredible. Walking through the original entryway with the horse & buggy and a bust statue of Sir John made us feel like we were really visiting someone’s home in the 1800’s. My favorite room was the above ‘red room’ where one of the most famous scenes of the movie was filmed “the first kiss” –  the marble detail on the ground is worth noticing, it’s absolutely eye-catching. The Sala degli Arazzi or ball room had a large fireplace {Part of the magnificent fireplace characterizing this room was shown at the I Great Exhibition in London in 1851} and statues with beautiful tapestry on the walls, above was a really interesting balcony where the children who weren’t old enough to attend the parties could view the fun below and be involved. Royalty and famous people attended functions in this place. Each room contained a different personality and we were lucky enough to tour the upstairs and see the more private intimate quarters of the family. Their cozy library contained original family photographs, books, paintings and adjacent was a special ‘doll room’ with ancient dolls and every accessory. From the large balcony upstairs  you could see a panoramic view of the gardens below and countryside.

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According to the website Upon Sir Temple Leader’s death in 1903, all his properties passed to his great-nephew Richard Bethell Lord Westbury, who sold the Villa to Professor Teodoro Stori, a famous Florentine surgeon. His wife, Elisabetta Corsini, devoted herself with love and passion to the maintenance of the historical dwelling, the same love and passion that the current owner, her niece Countess Lucrezia Miari Fulcis dei Principi Corsini inherited together with the Villa.

I highly recommend making a call and visiting this villa, it’s close proximity to Florence makes it the perfect afternoon to see some stunning landscapes and learn the history of at least one historical property in Tuscany. Bring your camera because if you are anything like me, you won’t be able to stop snapping photos. Coming soon is the ‘sister post’ about the adjacent olive-oil factory and I promise one cutest-thing-you-have-ever-seen picture of a baby donkey ;-).

Villa di Maiano

via del Salviatino, 1 50014 Fiesole (Florence, Italy) phone +39 055 598631 – Fax +39 055 599640 villa@contemiarifulcis.it, website.

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