Friday, April 27, 2018

Walking around Villa Vignamaggio

Past, present and future revealed in a Chianti valley
- part one -

Anyone who has seen the 1993 film version of Much Ado about Nothing by Kenneth Branagh, may recall the opening scenes where the male protagonists gallop home across a verdant valley towards the villa in Messina where the play's action takes place. The villa featured splendidly in the film is not in Sicily but in the Comune of Greve in Chianti, a 15 minute drive from Le Ripe: Villa Vignamaggio.

Although the Vignamaggio website includes a cursory (and not entirely accurate) summary of the Villa's interesting history, it excludes its context: the broad, sun-filled valley it dominates. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Machiavelli's Oak

A frustrating yet fruitful exile

Florence seen from just outside the village of Sant'Andrea in Percussina where the Machiavelli family had their estate.
In 1513, when the historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, author and playwright Niccolo' Machiavelli (1469-1527) was banished from Florence to his family estate by the reinstated Medici, it must have been poignant, if not painful, to see the towers and cupolas of his native city, so near and yet so far.

The Machiavelli seat, essentially a grand farmhouse, on the road winding between Florence and San Casciano: on the opposite side of the road stands the Albergaccio inn which Machiavelli frequented. Note the height and security of the lowest windows: the road would have been a busy and at times dangerous thoroughfare.

the entrance to L'Albergaccio