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Villas in Italy for weddings
Villas in Italy for weddings
Villa il Cerretino is named after the small surrounding forest of thriving oaks (the word Cerri is an ancient dialectic way to indicate oak trees).
The unusual layout of the Villa encompassing a central courtyard and typical elements of the fortifications (like the circular corner turrets and the walls) along its strategic location, overlooking the road between Florence and Pistoia, give credit to the story that the entire building was built on the ruins of the Torrebecchi-Strozzi fortress, conquered and destroyed in 1325 by the troops of Castruccio Castracani during an attempt to conquer the nearby city of Carmignano.

Villas in Italy for weddingsThe architecture recalls the military ramparts of late 15th century yet tempered by features attributable to the rural and noble villas of the 16th and 17th century. In the 15th century the building belonged to the Bini family (several coat of arms are still hanging on the wall of one tower and of the villa) before being acquired by the Medici family to which is linked the infamous story of the Villa set by Grand Duke Francesco I as Bianca Cappello’s residence, a Venetian noblewoman who was first his mistress and then became his second wife.

During the 16th century the Villa was restored by architectural standards of the time such as the large kneeling windows (still existing on the eastern and back side of the building) and the upper garden accessible by the main floor of the Villa (originally it was an empty court conveying light to the vast settings of the farm).
An ancient map of the late 16th century highlights a path running from the house to the main street known as "Viottola della Gran Duchessa” (literally the “Gran Duchess's trail”). considered to be the only path through which the two lovers could meet (see also the section Bianca Cappello and Francesco I: between History and Legend).

Villas in Italy for weddings
In the 18th century the Moldetti family took over the Villa, redeveloped the est-facing tower into a Chapel and built up the central viewpoint in the lower garden.

The Chapel, dedicated to St. Francis of Paola, was built in 1731 in loving memory of Moldetti’s son who died at an early age. Internal decorations were carried out by a Florentine artist and provide “Trinity with Angels of Glory” on the ceiling and architectures as well as statues of Faith and Hope on the walls.

Villas in Italy for weddings
The Villa passed than to the Contini Bonacossi family who turned it into a colony until 1970s when it was purchased and restored by the current owners.
Villas in Italy for weddingsThe story of Bianca Cappello and Francesco I de' Medici which is worth telling. They were at first secret lovers, then spouses and eventually victims of the same murderer at a time full of plots and mysteries...

Bianca Cappello was a Venetian noblewoman, cultured and distinguished. At 15 years old, she got married to Pietro Bonaventuri from Florence who deceived her about his real wealth and therefore she had to adapt to a modest life in his city far from her hometown, family and affections.

One day, she had the chance to meet Cosimo de’ Medici’s oldest son, the new Grand Duke Francesco I de 'Medici.

He has a troubled character plus he was devoted and involved to intellectual pursuits, to occult sciences and to the arts. For mere political reasons he married Giovanna of Austria, Ferdinand I’s youngest daughter (the Emperor of Habsburg), but, likewise Bianca, he was frustrated about his marriage as Giovanna was an uninteresting wife to him and her spine malformation made her unappealing to his eyes. Francesco and Bianca fell secretly yet madly and shamelessly in love. To get her close, Francesco had her appointed as damsel to the Court while her lenient husband Pietro became a clerk for the Grand Duke. Their relationship was one of the biggest scandals of the Renaissance and one of the most novelistic page of the Medici saga.
Villas in Italy for weddings
In 1572 Pietro Bonaventuri was accidentally murdered in the street in the aftermath of a fight and when in 1578 Giovanna of Austria died pregnant falling from the stairs, the two lovers could finally get married and spent in Poggio a Caiano some of the best moments of their life together.

Their idyll however did not last long: in October 1587, after a dinner enjoyed at the villa in Poggio a Caiano, they both suffered from extremely high fevers. Francesco I and then Bianca died after eleven days of agony.
Only in 2006 we came to know by a scientific study that they were poisoned with arsenic and not killed by the tertian fever, as it was supposed at that time.
And the murderer happened to be Francesco’s brother, the Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici. The crime allowed Ferdinando to step in and take control of the Grand Duchy as well as getting rid of the scandalous couple that was bringing shame and affecting the credibility of the entire Medici family.

Francesco's brother was also able to take soon possession of the his entire estate: his descendents from his first wife Giovanna were 6 daughters who, according to the enforceable law at the time, were not eligible successors (the only son, Filippo de' Medici, died when he was 4 on March 29, 1582) while Bianca's son, Antonio de' Medici, legitimized by Francesco as his son on October 19, 1583 was fooled and eventually robbed by Ferdinando.
As a result, the Medici’s branch to which Francesco belonged died with him by his brother’s hands.

Villas in Italy for weddings

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Villa Il Cerretino - Via Mastrigalla 51, 59016 Poggio a Caiano - Prato - Tuscany - Italy - Cell. +39 393 8610097 -

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