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Horti Leonini

The Horti Leonini gardens are located along the Via Francigena in the heart of San Quirico d'Orcia.
The garden was created in 1581 on land that Francesco I dei Medici had donated to Diomede Leoni. He wanted to build a beautiful Italian garden but without a villa built there, as can be read in a letter that he sent to Grand Duke Ferdinando I, successor of his brother Francesco I: "So that the wayfarers can also find some comfort there...".  From 990, San Quirico d'Orcia was a place in which to stop and rest from the fatigue of travelling along the Via Francigena, as the travel diary of the Archbishop of Canterbury Sigeric confirms. The garden is divided into two areas, the lower, more artificial area, and the upper, more natural area. The lower area, which can be accessed via a small brick courtyard, is enclosed by walls and holm oaks; in the centre, there is a statue of Cosimo III, sculpted by Bartolomeo Mazzuoli. The hedges of the garden form the design of an octagonal cross, the Maltese cross, a symbol used since the first crusade. The reason behind the Horti project was the desire to build a place that would combine the sacredness of nature and its greenery with the mission to welcome pilgrims in a place where they could rest, tired from their journey. 

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  • Progetto finanziato a valere sui fondi Legge n. 77 del 20 febbraio 2006 “Misure speciali di tutela e fruizione dei siti italiani di interesse culturale, paesaggistico e ambientale, inseriti nella “lista del patrimonio mondiale”, posti sotto la tutela dell’UNESCO”