Parco Mediceo di Pratolino is one of the largest parks in Tuscany. The estate in Pratolino was bought in 1569 by Grand Duke Francesco I de' Medici who entrusted Buontalenti with the task of transforming it into a villa. Left in ruins by Ferdinand III and Leopold II of Lorraine, the villa was demolished and the park landscaped into an English style garden. Sometime later it was bought by Prince Paolo Demidoff who had the pages’ quarters turned into the existing villa in 1872. On August 4, 1981, the complex was bought by the Province of Florence for public use.
The magnificent park contains the remains of artificial caves and fountains. Of the original Renaissance structure, what is left today is the colossal statue-fountain of the Appennine by Giambologna with the adjacent lake, the statue of the Mugnone and the hexagonal chapel designed by Buontalenti with its lead-laminated cupola supported by 14 stone columns. Dirt roads, paths and tracks run for many chilometres through the park’s breathtaking natural landscape. (www.firenzeturismo.it)
How to get there:
By car: Take Via Bolognese (road No. 65) out of Florence. (Via Bolognese is the ancient road between Florence and Bologna along which many villas castles were built.)
By bus: From Santa Maria Novella station take the 25A line to Via Fiorentina, Pratolino.
Entrance fee: Free
Open from April to October
June, July, August and September – Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday and holidays, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
PRATOLINO PARK AND VILLA DEMIDOFF
Via Fiorentina, 276
Tel. +39 055 409 155