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Villa Demidoff
(of the Villa Pratolino)
 Jpg: Alexandre G. Tissot Demidoff

Villa Demidoff, which stands to this day, originally was the paggeria of an elaborate 16th Century Medici palatial estate called Villa Pratolino. It was constructed (1758-1799) by Ferdinando I, the eldest son of Cosimo III. The architect of  was the talented Bernardo Buontalenti; but it had fallen into ruin in the course of the centuries and torn down. The grounds, over thirty hectares (74 acres) are crossed today by paths to some the most wonderful imaginative waterworks and sculptures including the massive "Apennine ", a colossal cyclopic sculpture rising from a lake, by Giambologna (1579), the flight of steps with the fountain of the god Pan, and Buontalenri's octagonal chapel are some of` what remains of the sixteenth-century layout.  

Prince Paul P. Demidoff (1839 - 1885) purchased the palace and immense land holdings in 1872 for Lira 300,000 in gold following the death of the owner Leopold II.  

This was the second palatial estate of the Demidoffs of San Donato (Villa Demidoff being the first) and it is said that Prince Paul sold Villa di San Donato at the urging of his second wife, Princess Helene; in order to escape the painful loss of Paul's first wife, Princess Metscherskii.  



by Giambologna  


By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2003 all rights reversed
Created 1/6/2003