Villa Linda is owned by Villa I Tatti, a centre for Renaissance studies of President and Fellows College of Harvard University. The two villas are just a few minutes’ walk away from each other. The Villa Linda estate is located in the foothills of the Maiano and Vincigliata hills above Ponte a Mensola, a small town and the last extension of the city of Florence in a north-easterly direction.
The landscape around Villa Linda is characterised by an agricultural mosaic typical of the Florentine hills (olive groves, terraced olive groves, vineyards, arable land, meadows) and woods. The nearby hill of Vincigliata, situated to the north, has the particularity of containing a large mixed wood with numerous cypresses. The Villa is set in a wood of domestic pines and holm oaks as well as some cypresses, maples and elms.
The garden is composed of spaces that make it versatile: it can accommodate both large groups and events on the terrace at the side of the building and small groups under the pergola, on the lawn, in the olive grove and in the wood. Two areas of the garden are dedicated exclusively to guests and their families staying for longer periods: one at the back of the building for the keeper and the other at the edge of the olive grove for the visiting professor.
The intention of the project was to keep the garden in a unified form despite the need to host both specific events and regular guests at the same time. The choice was to maintain the open spaces around the building, giving it an easily legible structure and gierachy: the terrace open to all, in front of the conference room, where refreshments or coffee breaks can be organised during events, the pergola which acts as a threshold between the garden and the rural area that host small groups, and finally other spaces scattered around the garden for more intimate and cosy use such as the glade and the olive grove, both further away from the building, where people can read, enjoy the landscape or reflect in solitude.
The tree cover of magnificent pines and holm oaks has been retained, providing a large area of shade along the south façade of the building and a feeling of coolness even during the summer.
In general, the intervention was relatively simple. It involved reorganising the spaces according to the new uses, working with materials to give coherence to the project and reconnect it to the context (elimination of asphalt, use of terracotta and pietra serena for the valuable paving and gravel for the driveway and pedestrian paths), increasing and enhancing the vegetal component of the garden to establish a dialogue with the architecture while maintaining the austerity of both.
Project location : Fiesole (FI) – Italy
Design year: 2017
Year Built: 2018