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Erasmus, The Godly Feast

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Villa Gamberaia

Dates: 1610–1744
Patron: Zanobi Lapi, d. 1619
Location: Europe — Italy — Tuscany — Settignano (Florence)

The designer of the Villa Gamberaia at Settignano (near Florence) has not been identified, but it is known that the villa building was begun in 1610 for Zanobi Lapi whose nephews and heirs first laid out the gardens between 1624 and 1635. During the eighteenth century the Capponi family made various improvements in the grounds, embellishing them with statuary and fountains. The Villa Gamberaia exemplifies Tuscan villas of the era in which a close association existed between the garden and its agricultural surroundings and which retained such conservative features as limonaias (lemon gardens), allées, ilex groves, terracotta figures, sculptured hedges, and pebble mosaic walks. The parterre was artfully “restored” in the twentieth century, although historical accuracy yielded to new, and changing, contemporary tastes in the use of water, choice of plantings, and creation of abstract geometries.

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