It was built in 1587, putatively using designs of Bernardo Buontalenti, and built over a pre-existing structure. In the 19th century, the Leopold II converted the villa into a mental asylum. In 1886, it was converted into a jail for women and minors, and later into a jail for those judged mentally ill. The Villa and grounds in the 17th century were used by Francesco Redi for anatomic studies of leprosy, and by Andrea Scacciati and Bartolomeo Bimbi to create paintings of flora and fauna for the Grand-Duke Cosimo III de' Medici.
Still in use as an institution for psychiatric illness, guided visits to parts of the building can be requested.