Villa medicea di Cerreto Guidi

Each Medici villa has its own particular vocation. For example, Artimino was certainly a "hunting lodge" within the forest-wood of the prince's reserve. The villa of Cerreto, commissioned by Cosimo I, was to be a place for vacation and leisure for the grand-ducal family, who from this beautiful location started off hunting excursions in the surrounding area, from the slopes of Montalbano to the open spaces of the Fucecchio marshes. It was built between 1564 and 1567 on the hill where the castle of the Counts Guidi once stood. It was the first of the Medici villas to have the "compact block" system, namely, a perfectly symmetrical distribution of apartments organized around a central hall. Outside, the spectacular access ramps to the villa, called the "Ponti Medicei", are attributed to Bernardo Buontalenti. Today it houses the Museo Storico della Caccia e del Territorio, dedicated, above all, to weapons for hunting and shooting from the Middle Ages up to the modern age. Over 500 specimens are conserved, partly from the legacy of antiquarian Stefano Bardini. Since 2002, it has hosted an important collection of paintings, originating from the Medici collections, mostly representative of the Grand Ducal iconography. It offers a broad and selected display of works of the most diverse artistic types and eras, from antiquity to the 20th century, situated not only inside the villa, but also in the external loggias and in the rooms below the Buontalenti "staircases".

On the occasion of the Leonardian Year 2019, the Villa Medici museum in Cerreto proposes the exhibition entitled Il volo tra Pisanello e Leonardo da Vinci (Flight between Pisanello and Leonardo da Vinci) (14 September 2019 - 7 January 2020), focused on the history of falconry from the Middle Ages, up to studies by Pisanello and Leonardo da Vinci, from real life, of animal subjects, and of birds in particular. The exhibition itinerary commences from the images of the famous treatise by Frederick II, De arte venandi cum avibus (On the Art of Hunting with Birds), dedicated entirely to this particular hunting activity (13th century), then traversing medieval falconry, up to the naturalistic studies by Pisanello and the Lombard school (15th century). Finally, the facsimile edition of Leonardo da Vinci's Codex on the Flight of Birds shows Leonardo da Vinci’s profound interest in flight, manifest in various forms in the drawings and observations dedicated to the birds in the renowned manuscript.
Texts by
Silvia Leporatti / English translation by John Venerella