Friday, November 5, 2010

The Romantic Villa of Vignamaggio, Mona Lisa's Birthplace

Towards the end of our visit with our son in Florence, we ventured into the countryside and spent the night at Vignamaggio in Greve, a 15th Century villa.

We had high expectations about Vignamaggio, and we were not disappointed. In fact, we were just blown away.
After all, Mona Lisa was born here. Leonardo da Vinci painted her portrait here.
And the movie Much Ado About Nothing was filmed here. It had a lot to live up to!

The light was fading when we arrived and the sun's rays were casting a lovely glow on everything. I was in heaven with my camera.

We walked around the grounds photographing the incredible gardens, villa and landscape.

The villa with it's rosy exterior. It was restored in the 90's after being covered with ivy for over 200 years.

The villa as seen from the garden.

I couldn't help fantasizing about a wedding here someday. After all, we have three single grown children. I'm hoping it's Alex. Perhaps he'll meet a nice Italian girl......!

We spent well over an hour just walking the grounds. Everywhere we looked was a photo opportunity!

Eventually, we went inside and had a glass of Vignamaggio chianti. It was ridiculously delicious! After all, they have been making wine here for over 600 years! Oh, how I wish I had those glasses as a souvenir!

Our room was just off this second floor loggia. We practically had the whole villa to ourselves as it is off season. The price definitely reflected that.

Looking down from the balcony to an interior courtyard.
We wondered what life was like here back in the 15th Century. It seems like not much has changed since then.

The interior balcony at night.

Our room with the heavy beamed ceiling and terra cotta floors, just off the loggia as seen below.

Photo of our loggia from the book we bought before we left. Our room is on the left.

Although most of the text is in Italian, there is a lot of information about the history of the villa, Mona Lisa and even the chianti wine district. And the photos are gorgeous. Better than mine!

I learned that Leonardo da Vinci lived close by and probably was a frequent visitor. It is said he and Mona Lisa were lovers!

Notice the background? I never had before either, but apparently it is the vista from a window of the villa.

Kenneth Branagh said "There is a wonderful sense of peace in Chianti" when explaining why he chose the site for his film Much Ado About Nothing. "There is a lovely sense of being out of time. And the villa literally wrapped itself around the film."

I am anxious to rent the move and relive our time at Vignamaggio!

Be sure to check out their website here. I highly recommend a visit in the late fall when it is off season. The room was only 170 Euros. Otherwise, it would rent for 400 Euro in peak season.
An incredible breakfast was included!

I'm linking this post to Laurie at Bargain Hunting With Laurie for "Favorite Things." Staying at Vignamaggio was definitely one of my favorite things ever.
Maybe a "once in a lifetime" experience!


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