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Italian Villas and Their Gardens

Edith Wharton

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Pratolino, Poggio a Caiano, Cafaggiuolo, Careggi, Castello and Petraia, one and all, whatever their origin, soon passed into the possessorship of the Medici, and thence into that of the Austrian grand dukes who succeeded them; and of the three whose gardens have been partly preserved, Castello, Petraia and Poggio Imperiale, it may be said that they have the same impersonal official look as the Boboli.


33Castello and Petraia, situated a mile apart beyond the village of Quarto, were both built by Buontalenti, that brilliant pupil of Ammanati’s who had a share in the planning of the gardens behind the Pitti. Castello stands on level ground, and its severely plain façade, with windows on consoles and rusticated doorway, faces what is now a highway, though, according to the print of Zocchi, the eighteenth-century engraver, a semicircular space enclosed in a low wall once extended betw. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I finished reading this book this morning. It’s a very informative introduction to the subject, and a breezy read, with dreamy, exquisite illustrations by Maxfield Parrish. If the book has one flaw, it’s the one Edith Wharton herself found in it—her editors and publishers rejected her suggestion tha

This is a beautiful edition of this book- and I highly recommend this particular edition for anyone interested in the book. But sweet lord in heaven I could NOT get myself interested in the actual subject matter. Just. Could. Not. Do. It.

One of the contemporary reviews of this book (1905) praised W

Edith at it again - anyone interested and can't make it to Italy? Go visit Edith's The Mount in Lenox, MA - her home, where there is not only an Italian garden, but a French flower garden as well - it is magnificent!

Italian Villas and Their Gardens details a history in Italian garden development. The book was first published in 1904 and includes some illustrations. The Italian garden is constructed of paths, hedges, fountains and grottos. Colour and flowers are secondary in the scheme, whilst statuary, vines, f

My wonderful mom got me this book plus a quilt of one of the Parrish illustrations that I sleep on regularly!