With one of the best-preserved historic gardens of central Italy, Villa Buonaccorsi is home to an extraordinary collection of statues of Roman emperors, classical masks, and playful and grotesque figures.
The garden was created between the mid-17th and the early decades of the 18th century. Facing south, it descends the hill slope with five terraces and two intermediate levels. The four flowerbeds around the central fountain of the top terrace are a rare example of a flower garden in its original form, with small partitions in stone placed around a pyramid-shaped pinnacle. Boxwood hedges and antique vases with citrus fruit grow on the other terraces with their exceptional collection of garden statues of characters from antique mythology and the Commedia dell’Arte repertoire, all made by the Orazio Marinali workshop based in Vicenza. At the bottom end of the garden is the so-called “Teatrino degli automi” a small limestone and shell-coated grotto equipped with automata for water and mechanical games and effects. At the centre is a statue of Cecco Birbo, a hunter dressed in 18th-century clothes in the act of playing his small trumpet and that originally also held a rifle. Behind the statue there are three closed niches each containing an automaton: a Turk playing the trumpet, Harlequin shaking a tambourine, and a forge, Vulcan’s perhaps. Originally all the figures could move. On the eastern side of the theatre there is a large lemon house for citrus fruit storage. On the western side of the garden there is a second grotto, the “Grotto dei frati”. In a long limestone-covered passageway the statues of two friars stand next to a closed niche containing a devil figure that squirts water. The garden was enlarged in the mid-19th century with the addition of the so called “Giardino dei tassi”, a vast quadrangular terrace with magnificent trees situated at the western end.
A terraced garden
Facing south-east and descending the slope of the hill towards the valley of the Asola torrent, this garden is made up of a series of terraces crossed by a central stairway. Paths with hedges of bay leaf plants, fish ponds and star or diamond-shaped geometric flowerbeds, full of numerous varieties of flowers make up the greater part of the decor of the terraces.
Statues and automata
Besides its extraordinary statue collection, the garden also features the “Teatrino degli automi” a theatre used for shows with figures that moved with a compressed air system connected to hand-operated bellows. These figures are still kept in a store room behind the back wall.
A distinguished residence
Within the vast enclosure of the villa there are several historic buildings that were part of this distinguished property: a church, a lemon tree house, granaries, cellars, stables, and rural residences.
The town residence of the Buonaccorsi family is in Macerata. The magnificent rooms of the historic palazzo in Via Don Minzoni 24, are home to the Musei Civici which include the Museo della Carrozza, the Carriage Museum.