The ancient village of Collodi was made famous by Carlo Collodi, the author of “The Adventures of Pinocchio”, the most famous and best-loved book in the world. Carlo Lorenzini took Collodi as his penname in remembrance of the happy years he spent in this village at his mother’s family.
The historic Garzoni Garden is part of a majestic villa situated in Collodi, a village in Tuscany in the province of Pistoia 60 km north-west of Florence. The villa, also known as the “Villa of Hundred Windows” was designed in the 18th century by an architect from Lucca, Ottaviano Diodati. In the place where in the 16th century a large country mansion was built on the ruins of a Middle-Age fortress with orchards and potagers in the 17th century a Villa with monumental garden were rising as documents can prove.
The Garzoni family
The aristocratic Florentine family Garzoni bought this place as a fort and transformed it as a family home. The first mention of the Roman villa dating back to 1633 when Garzoni signed a project to build a villa more or less with the same current dimensions, while the garden was much smaller until 1652 when the park was enlarged and equipped with an Italian style terrace (the steep slope) including staircases, statues and fountains.
As the villa and the garden came to fame a lot of celebrated and high renown personalities were guests such as: poets like Francesco Sbarra, the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, Anna de Medici or, later, Napoleon Bonaparte, whose sister Elisa Baciocchi governed Lucca in the early 19th century, King Victor Emmanuel III in around 1910 and the Ambassador of the United States in the 1920s. Carlo Lorenzini/Collodi’s mother, Angiolina Orzali, worked in the Villa as a girl and met her future husband, Domenico Lorenzini, here. It’s also possible to discover some of the famous visitors in the Historical, Artistic and Environmental Documentation Centre.
National Carlo Collodi Foundation
In 1871 the property passed to Senator Joseph Garzoni Venturi, then to his daughters. The last descendant of the Garzoni family sold the estate in the second half of the 1920s. The Villa and Garden complex, which was in poor condition by the end of the 19th century, has been tastefully restored by the current owner, in collaboration with the National Carlo Collodi Foundation, which is entrusted with the management and care of the Garden through its subsidiary Sviluppo Turistico Collodi srl.
In 1793 thanks to a project of the architect from Lucca Ottaviano Diodati, the garden was equipped with an hydraulic system, that still today allows water games, that makes it even more spectacular. The Garzoni Historical Garden was restored (restorations inaugurated in 2007) based on a comprehensive design by the Gurrieri Associates Studio (Florence), together with the Emilio Faroldi Associates Studio (Parma/Milan), which worked in particular on the ‘Spaccio di Rosina’ (ticket office with the Documentation and Exhibition Centre) and the Collodi Butterfly House, and architect Giorgio Galletti (Florence) for the landscaping.