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Medici Villa di Cerreto Guidi

During the 15th and 16th centuries, the Medici family had inherited and subsequently bought many lands near Cerreto Guidi, used for hunting and fishing, but above all for the precise relationship of authority and dominion over the territory. Some documents indicate that Cosimo I loved this area and often came here for hunting trips: this is probably where the idea and the need to build a hunting lodge on site came from. In 1564, as demonstrated by numerous Medici documents, there is a well-founded theory about an intervention that took place on the site by the architect Bernardo Buontalenti, at the time a mature designer who worked actively for his clients, the Medici family. 
Buontalenti's intervention was evident in the architectural features of the complex, particularly in the concept of space and the monumental nature that distinguish the two-winged staircase access ramps. The supervision of the construction work was then passed to the architect Davide Fortini, assistant to Tribolo, and later to Alfonso Parigi the Elder. In 1576, the "Star of the Medici household", Isabella, died in the villa. She was the beloved daughter of Cosimo I and was married to Paolo Giordano Orsini. According to stories and legends, her husband, along with some hired assassins, strangled his wife to punish her for her infidelity. In recent years, a theory has been put forward, according to which Isabella died of dropsy, a disease that caused a serious burning sensation, so insatiable that the sufferer would only seek ice cold drinks. The recent discovery of some correspondence between her and her husband Paolo Giordano Orsini appear to confirm the good relationship and the feeling of love between the spouses. 
In 1781, Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena transferred the property in Cerreto Guidi to Antonio Tonini di Pescia.
The Tonini family sold it to the Maggi family from Livorno who, in turn, sold it in 1885 to Maddalena Dotto, a widow from Filicaja  who gave it to her son-in-law Giovanni Geddes.
During the Second World War, the villa was ransacked. In 1969, it was finally donated to the Italian State and was committed to be used as a National Museum.
Since 2002, the Historical Museum of Hunting and of the Territory has been located inside it and cultural events and shows are also held there.

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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”