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Transculturalism has always been intrinsic to human culture as the garden of  Villa I Tatti testifies. Transculturalism has always been intrinsic to human culture as the garden of Villa I Tatti testifies.

Following the wave of the 18th century Grand Tour, the Anglo-American community in town grew so significantly that the Anglo-Americans became a subject on their own.
Easily recognizable by their style and manners, they were adressed with a name loaded of the scornful irony for which Florentines stand out: the ‘anglo-beceri’, where ‘beceri’ means boorish, loud people.
And they, who loved Florence although they could hardly stand its inhabitants, pretended not to pay attention to this rudeness and kept on living in the city and contributing to increasing its beauty.
Almost unheard-of today, but extremely well-known in Florence at the beginning of the 20th century, a key man was Cecil Ross Pinsent, who designed the English colony’s estates and gardens for about thirty years.
Cecil was a 23 years old English architect travelling around Italy with his friend Geoffrey Scott.
During his visit in Florence, he met Bernard Berenson, the famous American art historian specializing in the Renaissance, who had recently settled with his wife at the beautiful Villa I Tatti on the hills of Settignano.
Berenson hired Geoffrey as a librarian and commissioned Cecil his first important assignment: to design the garden of the villa.
It was an instant success.
Pinsent created a brand new and modern garden in what we would call today a “vintage” style.
Inspired by Renaissance Italian gardens, it constitutes of a sumptuous box parterre which extends on four terraced planes loping towards the bottom of the valley.
When, almost with indifference, you will cross the conservatory of the villa to venture into the garden, you will certainly be surprised by this unexpected magnificence.
Thanks to a contagious word of mouth, Pinsent became so popular among the Anglo-American circle that he spent the following three decades in Florence designing and building enchanting gardens, which seemed more “Italian” than the real Italian ones.

Taste is a dictatorship.


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