The Medici Villa in Poggio a Caiano, also known as Ambra, is one of the most splendid Medici residences in Tuscany, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The architectural masterpiece by Giuliano da Sangallo was commissioned by Lorenzo de’ Medici and his heirs and was built between 1445 and 1520 to be the summer residence of the noble Florentine family. It went on to be the country home of the Medici, the Lorraine and the Savoy families before passing to the State in 1914. Today, it houses two museums: one dedicated to the historic apartments and the Museum of Still-Life.
The building is the first example of Renaissance architecture, mixing, in a perfect harmony of spaces and styles, lessons of the Classical era with characteristic elements of noble, rural Tuscan architecture. One variation to the original plan is the matching staircase leading to the terrace, which was erected in the early 1800s after a design by Pasquale Poccianti.
The perfection of Sangallo’s work is enriched with painting gems located throughout the building: from Filippino Lippi’s fresco decoration depicting the sacrifice of Laocoön to the wall paintings by Andrea del Sarto, Pontormo and Franciabigio, as well as by Allori, who finished the works. The Villa is also famous for having a work by the Mannerist master Pontormo: the allegory of Vertumnus and Pomona.
The Villa’s gardens are also worth a visit, where you can admire rare plant species and some terracotta statues, while the Museum of Still-Life displays around 200 paintings coming from the Medici collections.