From the Mediterranean House Plans Series the
Villa di Firenze.......
The Villa di Firenze
2690 sf of enclosed space - 3
Bedrooms - 3.5 Baths - Family Room
Width 66 feet - Depth 62 feet
Plans Sets not available
The Villa di Firenze a Florentine Villa .....
The "Villa di Firenze" like it's name implies owes its architectural
roots to Tuscany. The original design was developed over a three year
period through an endless array of sketches, 100's of hours of material
research and several trips to the hills and villas surrounding Florence.
The result is a home designed to evoke the architecture which evolved in
Central Italy from the Late Romanesque to Early Renaissance Period.
The home reflects the period when newly rich Florentine
Merchants remodeled Fortified Farm Houses into Classical Country Villas. To
show this transition the home is detailed on each wing in a slightly
different style. The three story left wing with Campanile (tower) are
vestiges of the Romanesque, while the front elevation reflects a transition
to Classical Renaissance architecture. The home is detailed in the "Tuscan
Order" according to the 1st Century writings of Vitruvius. Beyond the
architecture, the home is a delight in which to live.
Nearly all the rooms extend the full width of the building, allowing
flow-through ventilation and abundant light filtered through traditional
French Doors. All the doors have Italian style "flower balconies" with
traditional iron railing. The home revolves around the circular staircase
of the tower. Nearly every room in the house is but a few steps from it.
The separation of vertical space becomes a natural privacy break. The tower
extends all the way to a roof top garden balcony at the fourth level. The
Master Suite occupies its own private wing with wonderful views of the
classic Roman Piazza and in the other direction an open view to the rear. The Kitchen is large with eat-in space for dining and wonderful
views. The Kitchen wing also accommodates a romantic formal Dining Room. The
Second Floor Living Room overlooking the front and the Piazza is linked via
a small Den to a convenient alfresco dining balcony lined with a classical
As in most real villas the home has a formal open arcade to while away
the warm summer days in the shade and in the breeze caused by the opening in
the lower level. Guest Rooms with full baths are available at both the
Piazza and Third Floor level. You can read a bit more about villas in the
life of Renaissance Italy in our short History of
the Italian Villa below.
The Villa di Firenze Mediterranean House Plans are being upgraded
and digitized and are therefore not available for sale as of this moment.
Villa di Firenze Mediterranean House Plans
The Tuscan Villa Style ......
A Short History of the Florentine Villa..
The type of Villa style that we have concentrated on over the years is more
a product of centuries of evolving architecture than that of an exact
period. Specifically, it is about an architecture that begins in the Dark
Ages with the Tuscan farmhouse and transforms between the years 1450 and
1550 to a Renaissance Villa. A description of the circumstances that
created these wonderful houses is necessary before the essential elements of
the style can be understood, what follows is a brief history of the place
The Villa & Vigne..
The term ¡¡ãVilla¡¡À is a shortened version of the word ¡¡ãVilleggiatura¡¡À, a
latin/Italian term, which approximates the English phrase ¡¡ãsummer vacation¡¡À.
Since the times of the Caesars, Romans recognized that the sweltering summer
in the heart of most Italian cities was not a healthy place. The great
cities of Florence and Rome were literally built upon swamplands, creating a
steaming breading ground for insects and bacteria. The typical ancient
walled city had polluted water supplies, was cramped and poorly ventilated.
In these conditions, the summer heat became an incubator for malaria,
cholera and typhoid. To protect ones family, it became customary for
people of wealth to move their families out of the cities during the summer
months to a healthier environment. As early as the 1st century B.C. Julius Caesar traveled to his
summer villa on the shores of Lago Como in the North of Italy to get away from the cramped city of Rome.
By the middle ages the villeggiatura had become a way of life in Florence
for the expanding merchant class. They soon began to acquire a great many
of the rural dwellings in the countryside around Florence as second homes.
The villa of the middle ages was usually nothing more than a traditional
farmhouse. In Tuscany that meant, fortress-like structures, usually three
stories in height with the lower floor set aside for protecting animals at
night. There were very few wall openings and often these homes were attached
to towers (campanile) that provided ventilation and an observation point to
scan for the, not infrequent, vandals or approaching armies. However,
these farm houses were built on sunny, well-ventilated sites with healthier
water supplies and were usually perched well above the swamps of the
cities. The expanding villeggiatura caused many to be transformed. The
ritual of gathering the family together in the summer at a safe, clean
location became an endearing part of gentrified Tuscan life. This annual
pilgrimage of family and friends transformed the farm homes into treasured
heirlooms that were handed down from father to son over generations. The
rural nature of the villas remained, but their farming theme began to
change, as many merchants began to try their hand at winemaking. By luck or
providence the seasonal migration coincided with the season for cultivation
of the grape. The practice of growing grapes and crushing ones own wine
became such a common part of villa life that the summer villa eventually
became known as ¡¡ãvigne¡¡À. (Villa in the Life of Renaissance Rome, 1979
Princeton Press) Cultivation of the great wines of Tuscany developed at
this time probably helped by the fact that thousands of new ¡¡ãgentlemen
farmers¡¡À began to perfect their own family cru¡¯s. No doubt the new vintners
created some friendly annual competition, which added to the villa way of
life. These farm dwellings remained, for the most part rural, simple
farmhouses turned vineyard, until the economic upturn of the Renaissance.
Vitruvius, Bracciolini and the Renaissance
In the early 1400th century the Florentine merchants, bankers and the Medici
family brought great prosperity and importance to the City of Florence. With
their new power and wealth the Florentine upper class began a movement to
rediscover the glory and architecture of the Roman Empire. At this time
the city of Rome had lain in rubble for more than a thousand years after the
¡¡ãFall¡¡À in 476 A.D. The buildings and monuments were unrecognizable but the
glory of Rome was well known and the heaps of architectural debris scattered
around Italy showed some of the grandeur that had been Roman architecture.
Historians suggest the research was largely an egotistical act carried out
to lift the Florentine noblemen of the 15th century to be the leaders of a
¡¡ãNew Roman Empire¡¡À. A first start for this rebirth would be the recreation
of the architecture of Rome in their new palaces, town halls and villas.
After some decades of digging and searching through the ruins, a document
was discovered that transforms architecture to this day. In 1414 a young
Poggio Bracciolini, while excavating in the Forum, stumbled upon a 1st
century treatise titled
or The Ten Books on Architecture. ¡¡ãThe Books¡¡À, as they are known, were
written by the Roman Architect, ¡¡ãVitruvius¡¡À, in the 1st century BC. ¡¡ãThe
Books¡¡À were a virtual ¡¡ãhow-to¡¡À, describing in detail the essential
architecture, engineering and philosophy used to create the great works of
Roman architecture. They delineate the ancient ¡¡ãorders¡¡À of the Greeks and
Romans. They describe the secrets of Roman proportions of arches, columns,
capitols, entablabtures and more. Although written in the first century
BC, it is believed ¡¡ãThe Books¡¡À were used for 400 years to create the
thousands of cities, monuments and civil works of ancient Rome. ¡¡ãThe Books¡¡À
remain today as the only surviving written document describing the elements
of ancient Greek and Roman architecture.
The Books were kept hidden for some time but by 1450 the famous Florentine
Battista Alberti (1404-1472) published his own illustrated version of
the ¡¡ãBooks¡¡À, titled "De re aedificatoria". With the publication of his treatise and
the many re-publications thereafter, the Classical Architectural Period of
the 1500th century had begun. That period we know now as the Renaissance.
In and around Florence, every villa, palace and municipal structure was
soon adorned with the facades of ancient Rome. In the Tuscan hills the
venerable ¡¡ãvigne¡¡À began to evolve. The fortress farmhouse of the Dark Ages
was soon opened up with perfectly proportioned triple arches executed in the
ancient Tuscan Order. Simple raftered eaves were being wrapped in classical
entablatures. With this classical revival the Renaissance Villa style was
The Villa style is a mixture of centuries of architectural and social
development. It is the campanile that reminds us of our feudal past
alongside the proportions of an exactly sculpted Corinthian column. It is
an asymmetrical building with countless additions added by generations of
family in any number of Tuscan variations. But the style is always tied
together by the natural elements of the Tuscan hills. The orange-red tile
roofs made of Tuscan mud covered every variation of this architecture. The
ochre colored stucco, mined from local clays, adorn palace and farmhouse
alike. Travertine marble, whether used as structural beam in a farmhouse or
for Renaissance decoration, is found everywhere. Local craftsmanship forge
the wrought iron bars of farmhouses, as well as, the elaborate rails of the
Medici villas. The design of an Italian Villa, which contains these
enduring elements of Tuscan life and architecture, is a rather long and
arduous process but the creation of ¡¡ãvigne¡¡À that becomes part of a family¡¯s
history has its own rewards.