The Gardens

The villa is celebrated for the unique design of its gardens, originally laid out by Zanobi Lapi and his nephews in the first half of the seventeenth century and preserved until now with few major changes. According to Edith Wharton, the Gamberaia was “probably the most perfect example of the art of producing a great effect on a small scale”.

The design has inspired landscape and garden architects throughout the world, including Charles Platt, A. E. Hanson, and Ellen Shipman in the United States and Cecil Pinsent and Pietro Porcinai in Italy and the UK.

In 2010 the Gamberaia was chosen as the model for the “RCSF Tuscan garden”, recreated at Snug Harbor, Staten Island, New York.

Visit The Gardens

Our gardens are open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (last entrance at 6:00 pm) on weekdays. The cost of the ticket is 20 € per person and 15 € for students. Contact phone for visits on Sundays and holidays in case of need: +39 3472386326. On Sundays the gardens are open from 9:00 to 18:00 (last entrance at 17:00).

Contact us to Book your Ticket

Please book your ticket to the Gardens using the link on our website, as we can only welcome a limited number of visitors at a time.

Visits to the interior of the Villa cost € 20 per person and are available on reservation only, from Tuesday to Saturday, 9 am to 12 noon.

If you are coming by car, a parking for guests is available in front of Villa Gamberaia.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any other question or concern.


Impressions and Recollections of Villa Gamberaia

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

Walked 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 plain.

March 5th, (1948) 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)

Today… 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.