The garden of an early 20th-century well-known art critic and historian, designed by a great architect, conceived as a large “camera di verzura”: an outdoor greenery room with a rigorous geometrical layout working as an extension of the house.

Villa “I Tatti” is one of the first “Italian gardens” with a clear revival spirit, interpreting the formal harmony of the gardens of the past. An idea that was shared by numerous intellectuals of the refined and cultured English community that at during the early 20th century had settled in a number of villas around Florence. Soon after his arrival in Italy, English architect and landscaper Cecil Pinsent was appointed by Bernard Berenson and his wife Mary to supervise the work they were carrying out on their property in collaboration with architecture historian Geoffrey Scott. The renovation work begun in 1911, and finished a few years later following an extraordinary reinvention of a skilfully structured garden based on a fine mastering of the art of topiary. The terraced levels with garden beds are bordered on both sides by tall cypress hedges. The boxwood shrubs trace refined geometric patterns and a series of pinnacles add rhythm to the space defined by the tall hedges. No concessions are made to colour in this garden celebrating the sculptural-decorative value of geometrically domesticated plants. At the end of the terraces a double stairway leads to the “selvatico” holm oak wood. Parallel to the garden on the east side, a wide path takes to a rustic grotto.


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Gardens of the twentieth century

Born in Uruguay into a wealthy British family Pinsent eventually moved to Europe where he became the architect that in the first half of the 20th century worked more than any other for the Anglo-Florentine community creating new gardens and transforming existing ones.