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Horti Leonini San Quirico d'Orcia

PALACES AND MONUMENTS

Horti Leonini

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Horti Leonini
Piazza della Libertą

Telephone 0577899711 - 899724


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ORARI DI APERTURA E VISITA:
Orario di apertura: dalle 8.00 alle 20.00
Per Informazioni:0577899711 - 899724
The Leonini gardens, or horti, which occupy a large public area in the ancient ramparts of San Quirico d'Orcia, were laid out around 1581 on a piece of land which Francesco I dei Medici donated to Diomede Leoni, hence the name. The gardens retain their original structure to this day, providing a well-preserved example of the traditional Italian-style garden and a method of laying out parks repeated in later centuries. The lie of the land influenced the layout of the garden, which divides into two areas: the artificial lower section and the more natural upper part. The diamond-shaped lower section, entered through a small brick-built courtyard, is surrounded by walls and pruned ilex. It consists of triangular flower-beds lined with double box hedges, and has at its centre a statue of Cosimo III dei Medici, sculpted by Bartolomeo Mazzuoli (1688). The radial arrangement is given extra movement by the different heights to which the box hedges around each bed are cut. The long avenue, which divides the formal garden into two symmetrical parts, leads up to a flight of steps connecting to a grassy area in the middle of a copse of centuries-old holm-oaks, through which various paths wind their way. A medieval tower that once stood here was destroyed during World War II. The path on the side bordering the town, along the side of the bottom garden and the lower part of the wood, leads to a second 16th-century entrance and a small area, in the eastern corner of the walls planted with rose bushes. The sculptures present in the park, which are interesting for their symbolic significance, include two lions' heads (a reference to the owner's surname from which the gardens take their name) on the entranceway, and the two-headed figure of Janus, on the border beween the wild and the formal garden. While the first is a tribute to the power of Diomede Leoni, the two heads of Janus refer to the two distinct parts of the garden between which it is placed. Inscriptions elsewhere in the gardens are a further reminder of the owner and the designer of these gardens. The outbuildings include a Renaissance pavilion against a wall and a rustic lodge in the upper part of the gardens. The Horti Leonini, which since 1975 have been the property of the town of San Quirico d'Orcia, are opened regularly to the public. To preserve the original layout, a series of conservative restoration schemes have been carried out under the direction of the Architecture and Heritage Department of the provinces of Siena and Grosseto.
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