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Villa La Favorita

text Martina Olivieri

October 10, 2022

FAI Autumn Days: 15 and 16 October 2022 in Tuscany

Our mini-guide to choose the FAI visits to book province by province

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 October 2022 sees the return of the "FAI Autumn Days", the major autumn event dedicated by the FAI to Italy's cultural heritage and landscape. Among the many places open in all regions there will be palaces, villas, churches, castles, archaeological areas, museums, military sites, examples of industrial archaeology, places of education and research centres. Let's discover together the places not to be missed in Tuscany.


  • Villa Favard sui Lungarni: from 19th-century residence to international fashion institute
    Via Curtatone, 1, Florence

The tour of the building, now the headquarters of Polimoda, which is not usually open to the public, will take place in the sumptuous reception rooms on the ground floor and in some of the rooms on the piano nobile, which were mainly used as bedrooms and drawing rooms. All the rooms were named after the colours of the wall hangings - which have unfortunately disappeared today along with the furnishings - and were of the highest quality in terms of decorative richness and the profusion of exquisite materials, entrusted to the skilled hands of master craftsmen. The ceilings of the rooms are decorated in fresco with various subjects, sometimes taken from the great Baroque tradition, sometimes inspired by literary compositions, such as the "great dining room" in which the skilful brush of Annibale Gatti, an artist much appreciated by the Baroness and author of significant pictorial cycles, depicted characters from Gerusalemme Liberata and the Triumph of Tasso standing out on the vault. The 'Salon Bleu ciel', on the other hand, reveals a vision of the Triumph of Love painted by Cesare Mussini, while the ceiling of the 'Grand Salon Vert et Or' is frescoed with allegorical figures of the Four Elements, the work of Olimpio (Olinto, according to some sources) Bandinelli. If the 'Salon Mauve' once again features paintings by Gatti, the 'Ballroom' is instead richly decorated with white and gold stuccoes, due to the mastery of Ottavio Pucci, who is also flanked in other rooms by wooden furnishings by Angiolo Barbetti. The monumental staircase leads to the first floor, where it will be possible to admire the baroness's private rooms: the rooms reserved for her self-care, the small sitting rooms - one of which preserves the reproduction of the building's plan, shown by the personification of Architecture itself -, up to meeting Fiorella, portrayed in a large painting, in the 'Bleu de Saxe' bedroom, decorated by Olimpio Bandinelli with an Allegory of Night and Sleep.
On the occasion of the visit, the rooms of Villa Favard will host a display of fashion creations created by the students of the Polimoda master's course in Collection Design. Collections conceived, designed and realised in every detail by the future fashion designers at the end of their training course.

polimoda villa favard ph marco gualtieri

  • Villa Favard a Rovezzano - from noble Florentine suburban residence to place of Music
    Via di Rocca Tedalda, 451, Florence

The public, exceptionally admitted to the Villa, will be able to admire the refinement of the 19th-century reception rooms on the ground floor (Sala della "Fête Galante", Sala dell'orchestra, Salone da ballo) and the most representative private rooms on the first floor, such as the baroness's bedroom, the suggestive dining room and some sitting rooms. The visit will end in the imposing underground structure (cryptoportico), originally reserved for service rooms and currently used as a meeting space, rehearsal room and exhibition space for the collection of electronic music instruments. Visitors will be able to take an independent walk through the large park, where they will be able to admire the noble chapel, which is unfortunately not accessible, numerous valuable monumental trees and other special features, such as a dog cemetery, the burial place of Baroness Favard's beloved pets. At the end of the two days, the Conservatory students will organise two concerts: on Saturday afternoon at 5.30 p.m. the DUO Sin Palabras: Andrea Sernesi (cello) and Anna Bodnar (accordion), and on Sunday at the same time the Florence Cello Ensemble conducted by Maestro Lucio Labella Danzi.

favard rovezzano ph. Alessio Guarino

  • Villa La Favorita: Headquarters of the Tuscan Carabinieri Forestry Regional Command
    Piazza Edison, 11, Florence

The Villa La Favorita complex - used since 1938 by state administrations belonging to the public security apparatus - has never been open to the general public. The opening during the FAI Days is therefore a quite exceptional event, thanks to which we will be able to visit some of the villa's particularly valuable rooms and its formal garden, walk through the large park with its monumental trees, walk along part of its pathways, and learn about the history and current activities of the State Forestry Corps. All accompanied by the enchanting panorama of Florence and the surrounding Fiesole hills.
On Saturday 15 October, at 11.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m., special visit by reservation only for FAI members, exceptionally conducted by Colonel Luigi Bartolozzi of the Florence Carabinieri Forestry Group. Visit by reservation only.

  • Villa Poggio Imperiale: Educandato statale della ss. Annunziata, UNESCO-recognised property
    Piazzale del Poggio Imperiale, Florence

The Villa del Poggio Imperiale has been home to the Educandato Statale della Ss. Annunziata since 1865, when Florence briefly became the capital of Italy. Once a famous institute dedicated exclusively to the female education of the wealthier classes, it is now a public boarding school with annexed schools. As a rule, therefore, the building is not open to the public even though its UNESCO World Heritage status recognises and certifies its historical and artistic importance. The FAI therefore proposes a visit to the oldest and least known areas of the villa located on the ground floor. The visit will start from the outside square from where one can admire Cacialli's neoclassical façade and through the entrance portico will lead to the rooms that Maria Magdalena of Austria wanted to decorate to serve herself and the women who would succeed her on the Tuscan throne. A two-headed eagle with a dedicatory cartouche, once at the centre of the villa's façade, is a prelude to the numerous rooms frescoed by Matteo Rosselli and others, dating back to the work promoted by Giulio Parigi in 1623. The tour will retrace the ancient functions of the building, show the audience hall with its frescoes dedicated to the female world of queens, saints and empresses, and reach the secretariat of Pietro Leopoldo built by Cacialli and frescoed by Giuseppe Fabbrini. From here, you will also be able to see part of the gardens appreciating restoration projects. A special visit will be reserved for the Chapel of the Santissima Annunziata at Poggio Imperiale, the only chapel remaining from the 18th-century renovation of the Villa.

  • Montauto Castle Impruneta: a long history from the Middle Ages to today
    Via Montauto, 124, Impruneta FI

The Montauto Castle is not currently open to the public. The visit will have a historical-artistic slant, and will take in the exterior and the two main internal extensions, carried out during the 16th and 17th centuries. After walking along the access drive, you will come to the small medieval church of Santa Lucia, located within the property, but separated by a few dozen metres from the castle. Beyond the castle gate, the manor will show itself in all its magnificence with its articulated façade overlooking a landscaped garden. Inside, the visit, reserved to the ground floor only, will develop from the wing designed by Domenico di Baccio d'Agnolo in the 16th century as the personal flat of Bastiano Montauti and, in the following century, of Filippo Niccolini: the Sala dei paesaggi, embellished with 'grotesque' frescoes, medallions and small landscapes among which the castle itself is recognisable; the Sala delle invetriate dipinte (no longer extant) which was originally a dining room of which a large fireplace and a remarkable mannerist washbasin remain; Filippo Niccolini's ancient bedroom with a richly carved, painted and gilded wooden ceiling in the centre of which the Montauti coat of arms stands out. The tour continues in the inner courtyard embellished by the double 16th-century loggia decorated with grotesques and celebratory oculi that leads to the reception area, dominated by the reception hall, the so-called Hall of Portraits, enlarged in the Baroque age, which takes its name from a series of 75 portraits of illustrious men, executed by Cristofano dell'Altissimo between 1579 and 1583, now replaced by 20th-century portraits of the Vallecchi family and cultural figures, including the Portrait of Montale by Peyron. The last rooms to be visited, characterised by 17th-century fresco cycles, will be: the Room of Fame, the Room of the Centaur, and the Room of Aeneas and Dido, which represents a unicum in Italian art in that it focuses the Virgilian theme above all on the fate of the Carthaginian queen.
Visit by reservation only for FAI members and those who register on site

Castello Montauto



Montieri is the oldest mining castle in Tuscany. Its ancient, and later modern, history is inextricably linked to metallurgical activity, first silver mining, then copper mining and finally pyrite mining for the production of sulphuric acid. The richness of the subsoil has modelled the structures of the castle that, even today, maintains intact an ancient charm and recalls, with its tower-houses, the keep and some noble palaces, the splendour of times gone by and an ancient magnificence and wealth.
Today Montieri is an eco-European excellence, a 100% renewable municipality since 2015, finalist of the regiostars award in Brussels in 2017, within a Unesco geo park, the Parco Nazionale delle Colline Metallifere, and in an environmental and landscape context of incredible value.
For FAI members and those who sign up on site, we will then enter, for the first time, accompanied by the owner into the Papi Matii palace, which has maintained its conformation and structure intact.


    Port of Livorno, Varco Fortezza

The granary silo in the port of Livorno is not usually accessible to the public. The route will take us outside and inside the building where we will discover the history of the area and the silo. We will walk together along the itinerary that the grain used to take, from when it disembarked from the ships to when it was bought by local retailers, thus discovering a jewel of industrial archaeology and a piece of the history of the city of Livorno, unknown to most people.
MEMBERS and all those who subscribe to the FAI will have the opportunity to extend their visit to the Silos Granario by accessing a part of the property that is usually inaccessible to the public; in fact, they will be allowed to visit the basement, with the possibility of getting to know and appreciate details and environments that only insiders have had the chance to see
On Saturday and Sunday there will be a special visit for children from 3 to 10 years of age and their families: the tour will be the same, but the narration will be dedicated to the youngest visitors, with information and content suitable for the youngest visitors, making it engaging and fun for the whole family.
The visit for families will take place in 3 dedicated slots (1 Saturday and 2 Sundays. FAMILY VISIT SLOTS:
- Saturday 4.45 p.m.
- Sunday 10.45 a.m. and 4.45 p.m.
We kindly ask you to arrive slightly in advance so that we can check your booking and form the group, which will consist of 30 people including children.


    Piazza S. Maria, 2 - Location Benabbio

During the tour, visitors will be accompanied through the history of the village from the Middle Ages to the present day: starting from the main square, they will retrace the fundamental stages in the history of the village, from 'Menabbio' (the ancient name of the village) with its ancient castle and the legends that characterise it, to the 'Benabbio' of the mid-19th century recounted in the works of local writers Ugo Benedetti and Cesare Viviani, whose stories will frame the walk. During the tour through history, art and local traditions, we will discover the treasures kept behind the austere walls of the church of S. M. Assunta church; the magnificent 'Last Supper' of the Oratory of the Holy Sacrament and the treasures of the Museum of Sacred Art with works by artists such as Piero d'Angelo (1370-1401) father of Jacopo della Quercia, Matteo Civitali (1436-1502) and Girolamo Scaglia (1620-86) a true journey through six centuries of art and history carefully preserved in the verdant setting of the Val di Lima woods.
On 16 OCTOBER at 4.00 p.m. at the CHURCH OF S.MARIA ASSUNTA AT BENABBIO: concert FOR ORGAN AND CHORUS of 40 voices by the Cappella Musicale 'Santa Cecilia' of the Cathedral of Lucca. The Cappella Musicale 'Santa Cecilia' of the Cathedral of Lucca traces its historical origins from the Cappella Musicale that presided, during the 18th century, over all the most important musical performances of the Republic of Lucca and of which Giacomo Puccini's musician ancestors were directors. Re-founded in 1930, the Cappella Musicale 'Santa Cecilia' became the choir of the Cathedral of Lucca.
the special event open to all is by reservation For visitors who will be booking the concert, it is advisable to get accredited at the FAI desk at least at 3.00 p.m. in order to be able to take the guided tour of the Borgo first

benabbio museo

    San Regolo Ramp

In the Garden there are numerous collections, monumental trees such as the 200-year-old Cedar of Lebanon and rare and valuable species . Today, the Botanical Garden is an extraordinary example of biodiversity that has been enriched and grown during these 200 years of history and that, in addition to the fascination of the variety of plants and flowers, brings with it stories and legends that increase its charm, such as that of the Cedar of Lebanon introduced to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany at the end of the 18th century. The tree arrived by sea at the port of Livorno and in October 1787 was placed in the ancient scientific garden of the University of Pisa, which had been enlarged a few years earlier. The plant grew quickly and developed its first strobili in 1809 but was only able to produce fertile seeds by 1813. One of the plants born from those seeds was donated to the new Botanical Garden of the Duchy of Lucca and the young plant, the one still living today, was planted in 1822.
On Saturday 15, the visit will be enriched by the presence of dancers in 19th-century costumes from the Cultural Association Società di Danza di Lucca, who will enliven visitors with dances that will bring to life the atmosphere of the period with an 'En plein air' performance never before performed inside the precious 19th-century botanical garden.
The music for the 19th century dances comes, for the most part, from the rich musical heritage produced by the Strauss family: Johann father and son, Josef and Eduard.
The groups will consist of 25 people.

giardino botanico


The opening of Villa Argentina during the Fai Days makes it possible to visit a place of unmistakable charm. Visitors will be enveloped in the elegant exotic aura of the villa and will surely be inebriated by it, and will have the opportunity to retrace the steps that brought the villa to its renewed splendour. Splendour also made possible thanks to the passage of personalities such as Galileo Chini and Giuseppe Biasi who made the Villa the artistic masterpiece we can admire today. The visit will be enhanced by the narration of the volunteers of the FAi Versilia group, bearing in mind that during normal museum opening times, visits are not accompanied.
Visits with reservations will be one every half hour starting at 10 a.m. with the last visit at 1 p.m., then again starting at 3.10 p.m. and with 5.50 p.m. as the last visit, forming groups of 15 people.


    Viale del Gombo

The Villa del Gombo in the San Rossore Park, the historic summer residence of the Presidents of the Republic and place of residence of foreign heads of state, will open its doors to us. We will appreciate the external architecture and internally some plant engineering devices that anticipate the principles of bio-architecture, such as the regulation of the villa's internal temperature, which is based on exposure to the sun given the verdant position in which it stands. We visit the rooms facing north and east where the private rooms are located, while to the south and west, reached by a wide ramp, are the representative rooms. The villa is surrounded by a beautiful green area in one of the most beautiful parts of the beautiful San Rossore park. Hassan of Jordan and Al Gore, the American environmental guru, have also been guests of the villa, most recently, in 1997, British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Today, the building, now owned by the Region of Tuscany, has been restored to restore its full integrity and functionality as a venue for conferences, events and workshops for the use of citizens.
For FAI members and those who sign up on site, there are tour shifts at 10:15, 11:45, 14:45 and 16:15, shuttle bus departure times for groups of 35 people.

Villa del gombo


    Via Santissima Annunziata

The Church of Santissima Annunziata in Pescia has been closed for several years; the last opening was in 2018, when the Exhibition of Nativity Scenes was held inside. The visit we propose, therefore, is an opportunity not to be missed. Walking down the nave, we will be able to admire the precious stuccos, the Chapel of Saint Philip Neri, the Chapel of the Santissima Annunziata, the Chapel of the Madonna, the Chapel of the Madonna of Pompei, the Chapel of Saint Charles Borromeo with the painting Saint Charles Borromeo communicates the plague victims by Baldassarre Franceschini, known as il Volterrano, and the Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows. At the end of the nave we see the High Altar and the painting of Carlo Sacconi Pescia breaking his vow. We are certain that the atmosphere of the past will involve us and allow us to discover a Baroque building rich in history, that of its construction and extension, as well as its link with the city, especially in the years when Pescia was struck by the plague of Manzoni's memory.
Special initiative with prior booking, possibility of registering on the spot in the event of availability Saturday departure at 15.00 and 16.30 - Sunday departure at 10, 11.30, 15.00 and 16.30
La Pescia Nascosta (Hidden Pescia), a visit around the Church of the Santissima Annunziata to discover the gems in town. The guided tour starts right with the church and continues in Via Mercatorum with the church of Piè di Piazza by Cavalcanti, a pupil of Brunelleschi; the frescoes in Palazzo del Vicario and the frescoes in San Francesco by Neri di Bicci and the panel painting by Bonaventura Berlinghieri from 1235, and then continues with the church of Sant'Antonio with the "Santi Brutti": the house where St Francis lived in 1221.
Estimated duration of one and a half hours
Groups will consist of 20/25 participants

    Piazza di Santo Stefano, 2

After a period of closure, a careful restoration of the piano nobile has returned the Museo Civico to Pescia and to us all. which is part of the "Uffizi Diffusi" project Here we are welcomed by the amiable and calm atmosphere of provincial luxury. We enter rooms with polished terracotta floors, damask walls decorated with architectural motifs and frescoes, ceilings painted with medallions, 19th-century glass chandeliers, doors decorated on both sides with silent deities and glimpses of buildings; a rococo alcove with a stucco arch covered in gilded silk, a small room in which the green walls, alluding to an en plein air space, shine through under a drape of painted lace. The large two-storey ballroom-theatre with its sinuous wrought-iron gallery where the musicians played, now houses Neri di Bicci's panels, The Annunciation and Saints Apollonia and Luke the Evangelist and The Coronation of the Virgin with Angels and Saints. Nine works come from the Uffizi Gallery and had been on deposit at the Pescia museum since the early 1900s thanks to the initiative of director Carlo Stiavelli, who, with the aim of raising the cultural profile of the collection, asked them to the Royal Galleries of Florence. The works chosen were sent as a matter of taste linked to an idealisation of Pescia as a village rooted in its past as a municipality always faithful to the city of Giglio. On 15 October the work Madonna col bambino e San Giovannino attributed to Antonio del Ceraiolo, specially restored for Pescia, will return to the GFA.
Special event by reservation with possibility of registration on the spot in case of availability
SATURDAY 15 October at 10.30 a.m. VISIT BY BOOKING (regular visits will be suspended during the special event) Exceptional closed-door visit of the works in Palazzo Galeotti with an official from the Uffizi Gallery.
You will discover the museum and its works guided by one of the representatives of the Uffizi Galleries of Florence, curiosity Duration scheduled one hour. Open to all with a contribution . The group will consist of 30 participants.

palazzo galeotti pescia

    Via di Badia, 14 - Bottegone (locality Badia a Pacciana)

    Headquarters of the Giorgio Tesi Group, Via di Badia n.14, Bottegone (locality Badia a Pacciana)

The visit will take place in two stages: initially the participants will be welcomed inside the Giorgio Tesi nursery with the projection of a short video narrating the history of the company, which in 2023 will celebrate 50 years of activity, and a presentation of the group. Afterwards, they will be taken on a tour of discovery of the nursery, passing through rows of plants and greenhouses to discover typical Pistoia production (and not only), defence techniques, and the peculiarities of a cutting-edge logistics centre, up to the installation of the 'Garden of the Mind' by Pistoia artist Michele Fabbricatore.
Finally, visitors will be able to attend a practical demonstration on rose care by the Giorgio Tesi Vivai staff, who will be on hand to answer questions and curiosity.
Participants will be presented with a copy of the latest issue of NATURART magazine.
For the youngest visitors a workshop on 'Cosimo degli alberi' will be organised, dedicated to children from 4 to 10 years of age and which will be activated with a minimum of 15 participants. For this activity write to: . Times and modalities will be communicated once the minimum number of participants has been reached.

    BORGO DI CALAMECCA (candidate for LDC in the 2022 census)
    Provincial Road 38

The hamlet of Calamecca is undoubtedly a magical place steeped in history! During this day, you can choose to visit it with us, discovering its past and present thanks to narrations led by the Pro Loco and historical characters from the village. You will learn about its birth in the early Middle Ages, its battles and reconstructions up to the event that brought Francesco Ferrucci, leader of the Republic of Florence in the Black Bands, here. The village still holds the history of the First and Second World Wars, whose heroes and partisans it proudly remembers. Among the evocative views, the sloping streets and early medieval architecture, the church of San Miniato, a parish church until 1182, stands out in the upper part of the village. The church, nominated as a Fai Place of the Heart for the current campaign, hides artefacts from the 18th century on an unusual square layout of Romanesque origin. Also in Calamecca is the Museo degli Antichi Mestieri (Museum of Ancient Crafts), where you will be expertly guided to discover artefacts that narrate a rural history not so distant from us. For several years, the village has also held historical re-enactments, the costumes of which you can admire, skilfully handmade. Take a break in the countryside to discover the history and customs of a village in our mountains!


    via del Castello corner of Piazza Duomo, Colle di Val d'Elsa

Inside the Archiepiscopal Palace, there is an important cycle of 14th-century frescoes of exceptional uniqueness that were fortuitously found in the last century under successive layers of plaster and brought to light. Due to their location in the Archbishop's Palace, the frescoes are little known to the general public, which is why the special opening for the 2022 Autumn Days is an exceptional occasion.
The cycle is to date little studied. The frescoes are striking in their uniqueness. It is in fact a cycle with a profane character, inspired by themes of chivalry, which at the moment still presents uncertainties of interpretation.
Alongside more traditional representations such as 'Aristotle and Phyllis' (an example of the problems that love can create), there are in fact more particular ones, such as a hunting scene rich in detail or one of an assault on a city, with knights in arms, which have lent themselves to several interpretations.

    via Castello, 90 Colle Val d'Elsa

Visit reserved for FAI members and those who sign up at the FAI desk - Groups maximum 10 people, reservation required
Situated at the end of the rocky spur on which the oldest part of Colle di Val d'Elsa stands, Palazzo Masson dominates the surrounding hills and stands out in the panorama of the town.
Built in 1876 at the instigation of the now deceased Stefano Masson, an important iron industrialist, it was constructed by knocking down one of the town's ancient medieval gates. A memory of this also remains in the decoration of one of the rooms opened exceptionally for FAI members, in which a view of Colle before the demolition of the ancient artefact was realised.
On the ground floor of the palazzo, the reception rooms still contain numerous artefacts from the Ferriera Masson ironworks, testifying to the liveliness of its activity, as well as the original plans for the villa, drawn up by the Colle architect Antonio Salvetti.The palazzo, donated by Antonietta Masson in 1941 to the Congregation of the Ancelle del Sacro Cuore, has since then housed public schools.

For visits, reservations are required at

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