Garzoni Historical Garden, Collodi

The Historic Garzoni Garden is an attraction of the ‘700s. It is the result of two centuries of work that began in the 1500s, which made a vegetable garden and hunting woods next to the country mansion of the Garzoni Earls into a monument to artistic and good living style. The skilful use of water and selection of plants, the landscape architecture that exploits the apparent disadvantages of the steep land transformed such features into marvellous and unique elements. It is the triumph of the illuminist and XVIII century spirit which aimed at knowledge and greater consciousness through senses and pleasure.It is a unique European green monument created in the same splendid period as the gardens of the Villas in Lucca, where common inspirations with the garden of the Royal Palace in Caserta or the one of Wihlelmshohe in Kassel can be noticed.A walk among the wonders of this fantastic place – cool and charming grottos, theatres made of box hedges, statues portraying satyrs, gods and goddesses, animals, and biblical, historical or folkloristic characters, thick small bamboo woods – will be a magical experience.Discover some important figures that are connected with the Villa and Garzoni Garden, Ottaviano Diodati, Francesco Juvarra, Francesco Sbarra, il conte Mazzarosa, Carlo Collodi, Ippolito Cortona.The whole garden with its symbols and white figures that stand out among the green or hidden in it (just try to find the Turk!…), seems to be telling a story, sometimes an enigmatic one, to the visitor.Set your imagination free while you appreciate the different cultivations, the delicate hydraulic system – which mostly follows the XVIII century one – thanks to which the plays of water, waterfalls, and fountains are supplied, the fresh paths that from the Scala d’Acqua (Water Stairs) lead to the most charming parts such as the Labyrinth (recommended to fiancées, they say that going through it ensures wedding and a long love story!), the Teatro di Verzura (Greenery Theatre), Viale dei Poveri (Alley of the Poor) bordered by picturesque figures. The small building of the Bagnetti (Baths) is unique and special. It offers bathtubs of various types and shapes, and every area is designed to be invisible from all the others. Not even the small orchestra that played on a small balcony enlivening ladies and cavaliers while they “bathed” could see what happened beneath it: thus, the guests could enjoy the freshness and pleasure of the water in maximum discretion, and if they wished enjoy also more malicious pleasures.storico-giardino-garzoni_180The Garzoni Garden is integral part of the Villa (under renovation, not open to visitors) that is beside it and partially dominates it. In the past it was a fortress that guarded the hamlet of Castello, then it became country mansion of the noble Garzoni family, lastly a luxurious whole of villa and monumental garden which was the symbol of their owners’ economic-political power and cultural superiority. The steep hill that seemed to prevent the creation of a large and important garden became an amazing scenery of green and water, while the large mansion was transformed into an imposing and luxurious villa, which hid behind it the fresh Palazzina d’Estate and a chapel.This place was visited by many famous people such as Napoleon Bonaparte, whose sister Elisa Baciocchi governed Lucca in the early 1800s, King Vittorio Emanuele III around 1910, and the Ambassador of the United States in the ’20s. The mother of Carlo Lorenzini/Collodi, Angiolina Orzali, worked here when she was young and here she met her future husband, Domenico Lorenzini. You can discover some famous visitors in the Historic, Artistic, and Environmental Documentation Centre.The Garzoni family owned many of the surrounding agricultural lands and woods. The buildings around the lower part of the garden were collection points for the cultivated products. Today they host the services for the visitors: ticket office, Documentation Centre.The last descendant of the Garzoni family sold the property in the second half of the ’20s. The Villa and Garden complex, which was in bad condition in the late ‘900s, was skilfully recovered by the current owner, in collaboration with National Carlo Collodi Foundation that manages and takes care of the Garden through its subsidiary company, Sviluppo Turistico Collodi srl.The Historic Garzoni Garden was renovated (renovation inaugurated in 2007), on total concept by Studio Gurrieri Associati (Florence), and Studio Emilio Faroldi Associati (Parma/Milan) that specifically took care of the Spaccio di Rosina (ticket office with Documentation and Exhibitions Centre) and the Collodi Butterfly House, and with Architect Giorgio Galletti (Florence) for the greenery architecture.Restoration supervised by the Superintendence for Architectural, Landscape, Historic, Artistic, and Demo-ethno-anthropological Heritage for the Provinces of Florence, Pistoia, and Prato.

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Before being famous for being the fake name of the writer Carlo Lorenzini – the ‘father’ of Pinocchio – the village of Collodi was famous for the Villa Garzoni and its garden, whose fame spread beyond the borders of the Duchy of Lucca even in the 17th century. Read More

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