Mystery of an Italian Villa

Our friends down the hill Sabrina and Roberto, hired Alessio Merciai, a local historian, to research and write the story of their beloved villa, Il Trebbiolo. They have been working non-stop for 10 years to restore it to the grandeur of its finest hour in the 16th century, and they’ve done a fantastic job. The book is now finished, so we picked up a copy the other day to check it out. It reads like a reverse murder mystery—instead of trying to find out who done it, as in something really bad, they are trying to solve the riddle of who done it so good, because it is such a beautiful place today. That alone makes this story very different from any other.

Walls Fortified for War

The characters in this particular drama turn out to be none other than the Medici’s and the Pazzi’s. They were the two warring families vying for control of one of the most important cities in the world just after the turn of the last millenium—Firenze, Florence Italy. So basically, they were getting ready to duke it out some thousand years ago, unknowingly preparing the way for Il Trebbiolo. To put it in perspective, this could be a story written about your great, great, great, great, great—you get the point without us writing 25 greats here. Right? Well, as it turns out, Il Trebbiolo didn’t really come onto the scene until the 1200’s making it just a young pup. But the land it was built on was originally owned by the Pazzi’s and that’s no trifling matter.

At the Villa

The point is that Il Trebbiolo was originally just a farm. A simple caretaker’s farm. Over the years it changed hands more times than you could shake an olive branch and each owner made his own personal contribution. Centuries rolled by and before they knew it they were in the 1600’s with the wealthy families in Florence wanting their own country villas for rest and relaxation. After all, it’s hard to find peace and quiet in one of those incredibly beautiful palazzi, palaces in town. Sure enough, Il Trebbiolo was about to morph into a fantastic showpiece of that bygone era—but it did take them nearly 800 years to make it happen (we told you things move rather slowly in Italia).

Formal Garden

We felt a sense of hopefulness after reading their book: appreciation for people like Sabrina and Roberto who are willing to pour themselves into a restoration project that we can all enjoy; gratitude for the relay race of players who, in turn, took part in the centuries long transformation; we came away with a better understanding of the vision of beauty, inherent in any age, that people are drawn to and act upon; but mostly, we are inspired by the fact that something so delightful could grow from the warring medieval times. For it was in this period that the castle walls made way for formal gardens, and the heavy wood fortifications became open doors, providing extraordinary possibilities the world had never before even dared to imagine.

Note: You may also enjoy our story/video about another book called “A Tuscan Evening.”


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