Every year in September, the splendid Medici Villa in Poggio a Caiano stages the festive Assedio alla Villa. A program full of music, shows, food and wine, guided tours and art workshops take visitors on a journey 500 years back in time. The event includes historical re-enactments that bring to life famous figures, like Lorenzo the Magnificent and Vittorio Emanuele II, while flag-wavers, ladies and knights, street artists and artisans bring the streets to life throughout the town. And while the food may be all about tradition, the 3D projections casting new shapes and colours on the façade of the villa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are sure to grab your attention.
The villa is one of the most beautiful Medici residences in Tuscany. Giuliano da Sangallo's architectural masterpiece was commissioned by Lorenzo de’ Medici and his heirs as the noble Florentine family’s summer residence, and was built between 1445 and 1520.
Assedio alla Villa is rooted in a specific event in history: in 1565, the Archduchess Joanna of Austria, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, arrived at the Medici villa before going to Florence to marry Francesco I de 'Medici. The young woman was welcomed by the people with such festivity that it seemed like a siege; Joanna thanked them by requesting wine to be poured in abundance from a big mask. Still today, the wine that flows freely throughout the event is poured from the mask, but the siege today isn’t just attended by those wanting to celebrate, but also its fair share of curious onlookers!