Impressions and Recollections
Cost of the entrance for the garden visit:
€ 15,00 regular
€ 10,00 students
Even if not necessary, a booking would be appreciated. The visits at the interiors of the Villa are reserved for the groups of minimum 10 persons and the cost is € 10,00 per person (except on Sundays) only upon reservation.
To reach the Villa from Florence, you may take the bus number 10 directed to Settignano, from Piazza San Marco and go until the last stop in Settignano. After that, there are 10 min. walk to reach Via del Rossellino, 72. By car, kindly follow the indications for Via Gabriele D’Annunzio and follow to Settignano.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any other question or concern.
Edith Wharton, Italian Villas and Their Gardens (London, 1903), pp. 33-37.
Probably the most perfect example of the art of producing a great effect on a small scale... because it combines in an astonishingly small space, yet without the least sense of overcrowding, almost every typical excellence of the old Italian garden: free circulation of sunlight and air about the house; abundance of water; easy access to dense shade; sheltered walks with different points of view; variety of effect produced by the skilful use of different levels; and, finally, breadth and simplicity of composition...
Charles Latham, The Gardens of Italy (London, 1905) p. 113.
If you get pure beauty, you get about the best thing God has to give. Long ago, so spoke an old painter, and his words came back to me again and yet again as on a June afternoon I strayed in Villa Gamberaia. From the moment you pass the gate, with its sentinel cypresses, the impression is one of such perfect loveliness that at last by force of contrast, the mind goes back to strong Caprarola or tragic Este, only to turn once more to bathe in the perfection of the Tuscan villa.
Gamberaia stands on a long narrow piece of land; it is not large, but it is utilised and managed so as to give all that the mind can desire of variety, and space itself.
Geoffrey Jellicoe, Italian Gardens of the Renaissance, (London, 1925 and 1953) p.19
At the Villa Gamberaia, however, the aim of elaborate variety was extended into the colour scheme, which begins in the ivory and brown tones of the house, and changes to all shades of green, from deep cypress through the varieties of box, yew, ilex, and privet to the light green of lemon trees and grass.
Geoffrey Jellicoe, The Studies of a Landscape Designer over 80 years, vol. I, (Woodbridge, Suffolk 1993) p.26
Certainly the minds of the Florentine family of Capponi were original and inventive. First, in 1570, they created the beautifully detailed asymmetrical gardens at Arcetri overlooking Florence, a simple design that has the archetypal similarities to Bingham's Melcombe in England; and in 1717 they finally synthesised and completed the slowly evolving complex of the Villa Gamberaia at Settignano across the Arno valley, whose concept of a domestic landscape is by general consent the most thoughtful the western world has known.
Harold Acton, Tuscan Villas (London, 1973) p. 151.
Nowhere else in my recollection have the liquid and solid been blended with such refinement on a scale that is human yet grand without pomposity... It leaves an enduring impression of serenity, dignity and blithe repose....
Bernard Berenson, Sunset and twilight - the last diaries 1947-1958 (Milan, 1966) pp. 54-55
March 4th, (1948) I Tatti
over to Villa Gamberaia, found it neglected, unkempt, grass not mown,
trees with branches broken looking like elephants with broken tusks,
the house burnt out with the beautiful courtyard fallen in, vases and
stone animals on parapet thrown down and broken - and yet the place
retains its charm, its power to inspire longing and dreams, sweet
dreams. Its beauty though so uncared for is still great enough to
absorb one almost completely, the terraces, the ponds, the great apse
of cut cypresses, the bowling green as you look at it from the grotto
toward the south like a great boat sailing through space, the view over
the quiet landscape of the Chianti hills and further over domes and
towers to the snow-capped Appennines and the Arno glimmering in the
March 5th, I Tatti
Fifty years ago I began to frequent this paradise, then belonging to a narcissistic Rumanian lady who lived mysteriously in love with herself perhaps and certainly with her growing creation, the garden of the Gamberaia. ... for years the Gamberaia remained one of the fari (beacons), one of the haunts of my life, well into his century, till 1910 at least.
Cecil Pinsent, Giardini moderni all'italiana, "il giardino fiorito" June 1931, (translated from Italian)
the garden should give the impression of a house extended into the
open-air, and its diverse aspects should succeed one another in such a
way that when walking through it one is confronted by a series of
impressions rather than a single effect...
The best example of this design is at... Villa Gamberaia... after having walked in that garden, relatively small in size, one goes away with the impression of having spent more time there and having discovered more than was in reality the case.