Hello from Italy!
Thought I'd give you a little peek of what our host, Mary Ellen,
planned for us to do today (before I left for Italy)
A tour and picnic at Villa La Pietra.
Villa La Pietra is a villa outside Florence, Italy. The villa and its 57 acre (23 ha) estate is now owned by New York University, after it was bequeathed in 1994 by Sir Harold Acton.
The original villa was built in the fifteenth century by the Macinghi family. It is named after a milestone which used to mark its distance from Florence. It was bought in 1460 by the Florentine banker Francesco Sassetti. It was bought in 1491 by the Capponi family. Cardinal Luigi Capponi made substantial renovations in the seventeenth century, adding the baroque exterior, thought to be designed by Carlo Fontana.
The gardens were entirely redesigned when it was landscaped in the 'English style' in the nineteenth century. The villa was bought in 1908 by Arthur Acton and his wife Hortense, the parents of Harold Acton. They recreated a garden in the original Italian, a task continued by Harold.
A long and impressive cypress avenue connects the entrance of the estate to the house itself. The garden contains a large collection of statues Arthur Acton collected, many by Orazio Marinali from Vicenza and Antonio Bonazza from Padua.