Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gardens above Florence and that great concept: OTIUM

Cosimo di Medici (admitting we ALMOST named our pup after him) built the first "cabin" in the Western world. Of course it was a villa and it was near Florence. It served one purpose. Otium, a Latin word meaning something like the following:

A time and place for leisure, rest, communing with nature, reading, writing, engaging in  conversation, thought, philosophy, poetry, music. Today we might add meditation - though otium is a bit of an active meditation, it seems.

Cosimo di Medici states: "I don't come here to till the soil. I come here to till my soul." This was the purpose of the Villa Medici, built around 1460 on the hillside in Fiesole, overlooking Florence. This is where we went today - then on to 2 other villas, with notes about each here below!

But first , we started at Gamberaia, the garden that Edith Wharton described as "the most beautiful garden in Italy." I might argue that Le Balze, a 1910 interpretation of a Renaissance villa tops it. But we'll let you see what you think. Today...photos from Gamberaia. Tomorrow...from the other villas.

I realize as I sit here in this palazzo in Florence writing this post that I, too, am engaged in otium. 

Allee to Gamberaia in Settignano

Amazing cool cupboard with chicken wire and curtains covering contents.

Bedroom at Gamberaia. 

View from the House

Another lovely bedroom!

The garden from the loggia. I want a loggia. Even more than a garden!

View of Florence from the Piano Nobile

Piano Nobile -Living Room on what we know as the second floor. Amazing! No rugs....hmmmm...

Library with shelving and doors in brass chicken wire. Well, why do I think the Italians don't call it chicken wire?

The house from the garden - through a green window. 

The limonaia - the building where they store the citrus plants during the winter to protect from freezing.

Banksiae Rose


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