Villa Schifanoia

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Villa Schifanoia facade.

Villa Schifanoia is a villa and gardens in Fiesole, Tuscany, central Italy. It is near the boundary with the Province of Florence.[1]


Fifteenth century[edit]

The villa, whose name refers to its leisure nature (its name means literally "Avoiding-boredom"),[2] was built over the remains of a farmhouse at the Villa Palmieri.[3] The central nucleus, dating to the 15th century, belonged to the Cresci family until 1550, when it was acquired by Bartolomeo di Bate di Zaccheria. Alexandre Dumas sojourned in the villa and dedicated one of his books to it.[citation needed]

Twentieth century[edit]

After a series of property changes, in 1927 it was bought by the Myron Taylor, American ambassador to the Vatican during the reign of Pope Pius XII. Taylor restored the villa to house his art collection. He created a large terraced garden Giardino all'italiana on the southern façade of the villa. Statues and garden vases abound in the gardens.

At the outset of World War II, Taylor gave the villa to the Vatican with the proviso that it be used for education in art and music under the direction of the Sinsinawa (WI) Dominican Sisters who administered Rosary College (now Dominican University) in River Forest, Illinois. The sisters opened a graduate school of fine arts in the Villa in 1948, awarding master's level degrees for American women. Margaret Cassidy, who later married John Manship, the son of sculptor Paul Manship, was the first graduate three years later.


  1. ^ Mariachiara Pozzana (2001). I giardini di Firenze e della Toscana: guida completa. Giunti Editore. pp. 99–. ISBN 978-88-09-02042-9. 
  2. ^ Arpad Szakolczai (24 January 2007). Sociology, Religion and Grace. Routledge. pp. 122–. ISBN 978-1-134-19450-6. 
  3. ^ Grazia Gobbi Sica (13 December 2007). The Florentine Villa: Architecture History Society. Routledge. pp. 108–. ISBN 978-1-134-06717-6. 

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