On Via di Vincigliata a cypress road leads to Bosco di Fonte Lucente. To cross the entrance and to follow the road is like entering a timeless place, that Paolo Peyron loves defining an “oasis of alive beauty created with patience and love.” The villa with the tower rises between the cypresses. In front of the villa, extended to the South to admire the view over Florence, is located the garden.
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Fontelucente Garden of Villa Peyron
The stunning formal gardens of Villa Peyron, the spacious park, and the surrounding Fontelucente woods and olive groves are located on the hills of Fiesole, enjoying spectacular views of Florence to the south and of Castel di Poggio to the east.
Above the Villa, a 16th century fountain provides the water necessary for the many fountains, as well as for the small artificial lake. The gardens are laid out on three terraces which descend south towards Florence, planted with luxuriant boxwood parterres. The first terrace was probably created at the time when the villa was first built, while the second and third were part of the sweeping restoration and modifications undertaken by the Peyron family in the early part of the 20th century.
In all likelihood, the villa was built on Etruscan architectural remains still visible in the walls surrounding the lake. Paolo Peyron, heir to the Villa Peyron estate donated the entire property to the Fondazione Parco Monumentale Bardini, sponsored by Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze Foundation, which was already involved in the restoration of the Florentine Bardini Garden. As a result of this donation, the Foundation gained approval to officially name the complex of the Villa and its park a valuable example of the "Garden of the 20th Century." Preserving and promoting these historical gardens is one of the main objectives of the Foundation, as well as educating youth about nature and the environment.
There are many elements which make the Villa Peyron gardens absolutely worth a visit. These include the majestic cypresses protecting the Villa itself, the double hedges of box framing the roses, the series of gentle staircases (note the etruscan dry-stone wall) leading to the lake.
The semicircle terrace is dedicated to the great conductor Riccardo Muti, in remembrance of the maestro\'s love for the garden.
The lake was dug in 1960, at the point in which a spring created a torrent. The goal was initially agricultural, but the lake was then converted into an exclusively esthetic element best appreciated from the upper part of the stairs. Theo the swan is its only resident.
The chapel is dedicated to Madonna della Pace. In the middle of the simple garden with four flower beds framed by box hedges, a baptismal fountain is located. Both Paolo Peyron and his brother Guido, a famous painter, rest here.
The water filling the stone pool comes from a natural source in the highest part of the property. The Fonte Lucente (“bright spring”) provides the water – and the name for the garden and the surrounding woods. The pool is the focal point of the garden, and the best place to admire the villa.
More “green rooms” form a part of the garden, which also includes a trail into the woods. It winds between high pines and oaks, and traverses a space once dedicated to quiet tea parties. Nearby, guarding the mystery of the wood, you\'ll encounter the statue of the god Pan.
The Japanese lake, the statues of nymphs and dancers, the series of waterfalls, architectural elements such as walls and an artificial cave, as well as the terracotta pergola, create refreshing rhythms and welcome you to silence and peace.