The Manor of Poggio Adorno is a wonderful building placed halfway down between Staffoli and Santa Croce sull’Arno, althought it is part of the municipality of Castelfranco. Today the construction belongs to the four grandchildren of Germinal Giovacchini, who bought it from the marquis Bargagli. Thanks to the availability of one of the owner, Roberto Giannoni, and his wife Stefanella, I could visit the manor and realized how magnificence it is.
The manor was built on a pre-existing tower in the second half of seventeenth century; the promoter of this initiative was Domenico Guerrini, the current owner. Named “Manor of Poggio Adorno” to be sourronded by the green, its real name is villa “Vettori-Bargagli”, to the name of familiy owners. One of these was the marquise Maria Ottavia Vettori Placidi, died in 1878. This woman gathered in this place artists and intellectuals, like the macchiaiolo painter Cristiano Banti, born in Santa Croce, who inherited the villa at the marquis’ death.
The park around the Manor is very large and includes several hectares of woodland. On the back there is a well kept giardino all’italiana (Italian Garden). Exiting by a hidden door and walking along the outer walls, you get to a “labirinth”; the path, bordered by laurel hedges, leads to the “Hermit Cave”. Here, in fact, there is a sculpure of San Benigno, whose remaines are kept in the church close the manor.
The interior of the Manor of Poggio Adorno
Built on three floors, of which the upper one carries out the functions of the service room, the villa shows a particular care in furnishings. The ground floor is occupied by a large living room with a serene stone fireplace and two separate rooms: the first one is a very refined studio made by a chapel, the second is a sitting room connected to a bathroom. Careful in detail is the antibagno, adorned with an oriental patterned tapestry.
What is truly gorgeous is the noble floor, which is accessed by two staircases of serene stone with barrel vault. The main lounge, with a balcony overlooking the valley from which you can see the towers of San Miniato, has its walls entirely frescoed with trompe-l’oeil reproducing the surrounding landscape. The effect of dematerialization of the walls is very impressive and is repeated in what is probably the most curious environment of the villa. From the living room, in fact, you get in Cristiano Banti’s bedroom, who probably freshned the walls.
There are many other annexes to the villa, such as the adjacent church with central nave and polygonal apse, or lemon house; all this enhances the pathos of this place, making it charming and inimitable.