Villa La Quiete
Villa La Quiete is a remarkable example of history of the Medici, of devotion and female education. It preserves the historical and artistic heritage linked to the events of the Montalve, a congregation founded in the seventeenth century by Eleonora Ramirez di Montalvo, who have lived and preserved the Villa for over three centuries.
Villa La Quiete is currently owned by the Region of Tuscany and managed by the University Museum System (owner of the historical assets left there) for the development of the museum itinerary as part of a larger project to promote the visibility of the complex. The Villa can be visited by reservation.
Purchased in 1432 by Niccolò da Tolentino, captain of the Florentine Republic, the "estate of Boldrone" passed to the Medici for the first time in 1453. They then sold it in 1495, only to regain its ownership in 1530 when they made their final return to Florence.
Between 1561 and 1627 Cosimo I assigned the "Medici house of Quarto" to the Order of the Knights of Santo Stefano, which he founded. In 1627 the Grand Duchess Christina of Lorraine bought the building and ordered Giovanni da San Giovanni, to paint the fresco "La Quiete che pacifica i venti" (Quiet that pacifies the winds), executed in 1632. From that moment onward it would the "Estate of Boldrone" or "Quarto's Medici House" would be re-named after the fresco.
Ferdinand II, grandson of Christina, sold Villa La Quiete to Eleonora Ramirez di Montalvo, founder of two congregations dedicated to the religious and cultural education of young Florentine women in 1650.
The "Little Ancille of the Holy Trinity", of noble origin, lived with the founder Eleonora, at Villa La Quiete, whereas the "Ancille of the Holy Virgin", mostly of humble extraction, lived in the city, first in the Conventino (in the present Via S. Antonino, in the neighbourhood of San Lorenzo) and then, in 1794, in the monastery of San Jacopo di Ripoli (in Via della Scala).
In 1688, commissioned by the Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere, protectress of the Congregation, the Church was built and consecrated. There are still held some of the most representative works of the Montalve heritage, together with the sepulcher of Eleonora and the cenotaph of the Grand Duchess.
Since 1716 the Grand Duchess Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, Electress of the Palatinate, assumed the patronage of the Montalve, choosing La Quiete as a place of holiday and spiritual retreat.
The frescoed rooms on the ground floor date back to this period, together with the arrangement in devotional style, of the garden which houses a rare "ragnaia", a thick wood used to capture small birds using special nets called “ragne” as they recalled spider webs. The “ragnaia” were typical elements of Italian gardens from the seventeenth century.
Following the Unity of Italy in 1861, Villa La Quiete was brought under the management of the Italian State. There the Montalve, gathered in a single community with the arrival at the Villa of the sisters from the city convent of Ripoli, continued their work of educating young women up to the threshold of the twenty-first century.
The "Regio Educandato delle Signore Montalve della Quiete" - founded in 1886 as a lay institution - became a religious institute in the 1940s, called "Istituto delle Montalve", with a legal status distinguished from the "Conservatorio della Quiete" which remained under the protection and the superintendence of the State government.
Starting from Saturday 12 May 2018 the visit itinerary of the villa re-opens on a permanent basis.
In Autumn 2018 will open to the public the exhibition"Renaissance sculptures at Villa La Quiete: recoveries and restorations".
Admission is free but booking is required.
The villa is located in Via di Boldrone 2, Florence