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Garden

The La Pietra Garden is one of the most celebrated in Italy. A Renaissance revival garden, it reflects the tastes of the large Anglo-American community that lived in Florence at the turn of the nineteenth century. Laid out by the Actons between 1908 and the early 1930s, it drew its inspiration from the sixteenth century gardens of Florence. One of its special features is its numerous sculptures (there are over 180 of them), ranging in date from Roman times through the 17th Century and including 19th Century copies. As Harold Acton points out in his Memoirs of an Aesthete (1948) the garden of an Italian villa constitutes the natural extension of the house: at Villa La Pietra the sequence of rooms in the house and garden is developed on two perpendicular axes and provides unexpected views in all directions, both indoors and out. Such vistas, many formal in composition, others occurring almost as happy accidents are often made up of combinations of objects, of varying age, made of contrasting materials, colors, forms and styles which perfectly illustrate the eclectic taste prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.