Monday, 16 July 2007

Villa Demidoff at Pratolino

Last Sunday (the 8th, it seems like a long time ago now) we went off to Villa Demidoff, which became one of the Medici Villas when the estate was purchased by Francesco I de' Medici in 1568, but was later sold to Prince Paolo Demidoff in 1872. The estate was eventually bought by the Florence Provincial Council in 1981 for public use and is currently being restored.

The most famous feature of the park is the Apennine Colossus, which was constructed around 1579. Otherwise the park is looking a bit the worse for wear but is still a very nice spot to wander around and certainly a nice cool break from the hot Tuscan summer days.

We were lucky enough to arrive on a day where a free 'spectacular' (two french girls on trapeze over a pond of water) was being shown on the lawns near the Colossus. This was actually very good and quite a crowd had turned out to see it. I have no idea how they knew about it as we knew nothing of it until we turned up.

After the show we tried to find a bus back home but discovered the final leg of our journey had been cut off by the late hour and we had a walk a couple of kilometres to the next bus stop. Fortunately we were accompanied by an American girl who adopted us along the way, and who had even less of an idea than we did (hadn't even heard of Villa Demidoff and found it by chance) but kept us entertained by telling us all about her qualifications as a sign language teacher for home-schooled children.

We finished off the evening with some excellent pizza, wine and dessert, once again feeling very satisfied with another successful day.

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