Inclusion in the World Heritage List: Phnom Penh (Cambodia), 16-27 June 2013
Twelve villas and two ornamental gardens scattered across the Tuscan landscape constitute a site that bears witness to the influence exercised by the Medici family on modern European culture through the patronage of the arts. They were built between the 15th and 17th centuries and represent an original system of rural buildings in harmony with nature, dedicated to leisure, the arts and knowledge.
The villas show innovation in form and function, representing a new type of princely residence, different from both the farms owned by wealthy Florentines in that period and from the castles that symbolised noble power. The Medici villas are the first example of connection between habitat, gardens and environment, a constant reference for princely residences in Italy and Europe. Their gardens and their integration into the natural environment contributed to the development of an aesthetic sensitivity with regard to the landscape that was typical of Humanism and of the Renaissance.
The economic, financial and political fortunes of the Medici family were the basis of a vast patronage which had a decisive effect on the cultural and artistic history of modern Europe. Among the architectural and aesthetic forms resulting from it, the Medici villas, in great harmony with their gardens and rural environment, are among the most original of the Italian Renaissance. The property referred to is a selection of twelve villas with their gardens and two additional gardens scattered throughout the Tuscan countryside near Florence. The Medici villa and its gardens embody the Country's ideal of the princely residence, where it was possible to live in harmony with nature and devote time to recreation and also to the arts and knowledge.
These are the properties: Villa di Careggi, Villa di Castello, Villa della Petraia, Boboli Gardens, Villa del Poggio Imperiale in Florence, Villa di Cafaggiolo in Barberino di Mugello, Villa del Trebbio in San Piero a Sieve, Villa Medici in Fiesole, Villa di Cerreto Guidi, Giardino di Pratolino in Vaglia, Villa di Poggio a Caiano, Villa di Artimino in Carmignano, Palazzo di Seravezza and Villa La Magia in Quarrata.
Criterion I - Representing a masterpiece of man's creative genius.
In summary, the Medici villas and Medici gardens in Tuscany are evidence of the aristocratic rural residence as the embodiment of a series of new political, economic and aesthetic ambitions at the end of the Middle Ages. The villas and gardens were models that spread considerably throughout Italy during the Renaissance and then throughout the whole of modern Europe.
Criterion IV - Constituting an extraordinary example of a building category, of an architectural or technological ensemble, or of a landscape, that illustrates one or more important phases in human history.
The noble Medici residences are eminent examples of the aristocratic country villa dedicated to leisure, the arts and knowledge. Over a period spanning nearly three centuries, the Medici family developed numerous innovative architectural and decorative solutions. These solutions, as a whole, are a representation of the technical and aesthetic organisation of the gardens in association with their rural environment, emphasising a specific style of landscape from the age of Humanism and the Renaissance.
Criterion VI - Constituting an extraordinary example of a building category, of an architectural or technological ensemble, or of a landscape, that illustrates one or more important phases in human history.
The Medici villas and gardens, together with the Tuscan landscapes they belong to, gave an initial and crucial contribution to the emergence of a new aesthetic form and lifestyle. They represent exceptional evidence of cultural and artistic patronage developed by the Medici family. The Medici villas and gardens represented a series of key locations where Italian Renaissance ideals and trends emerged, which continued to exist and spread throughout Europe.