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Villa Reale di Marlia and gardens

Listed under Houses in Leghorn, Italy.

Photo of Villa Reale di Marlia and gardens
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This charming, but very angular looking villa was built by the Dukes of Tuscia around the beginning of the 16th Century, but it gained its current stylings in the mid 19th Century when Napoleon Bonaparte's sister took a shine to it and forced the present residents out and did it up in a way she though befitted her standing – meaning she multiplied the grandeur by about four. After Eliza Bonaparte the villa had a series of owners, including the Bourbons and the grand Dukes of Tuscany, under varying circumstances and it went from decadence to decay and back several times until purchased by the current owners who give guided tours on the hour and open the 17th and 18th Century gardens to visitors to help pay for the upkeep on the place

The garden is supposed to be an attraction to itself with its expansive lawns and garden theatre and maze, lemon orchard, sculpture dotted grotto and fish pond. The garden theatre has a backdrop of yew hedges, footlights made of smaller, rounded hedges and a stock of statues the staple of the commedia dell'arte.

Written by  Emilie Stokes.

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