9 March 2014

Tuscan Stone

“It has taken millennia of human toil to create the Tuscany of popular imagination, that orderly, well-tended landscape of vineyards, olive groves and ancient hilltop villages.” (C. Hill, AD) A landscape that has inspired centuries of artists, like Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, and Da Vinci, and the region that is regarded as the birthplace of the Renaissance.

Not only Michelangelo has been inspired by the beautiful stonework of Tuscany, but all those who yearn to live under the Tuscan sun. The craftsmanship in every building is undeniable as you recognize the art and precision of each stone’s placement. From the countryside villas to noble estates, each villa has it’s own unique beauty, while radiating the warmth that is Tuscany.

Countryside villas are known for their high variety of stone. With original constructions dating back hundreds of centuries, the people used whatever stone was available from previous structures and commonly quarried limestone and sandstone from the hillsides.

There are some elements in these exquisite villas that unite them in being uniquely Tuscan. You will notice how the corners of the homes have large rectangular quoins, as well as the common use of terra cotta brick around the edges of windows and doors and placed as a filler throughout the walls. The beautiful red of the terra cotta together with the natural beauty of the quarried stone is what gives each villa it’s warmth and beauty.

The wealthy and nobility, however, selected almost exclusively the use of limestone due to it’s durability. With the many invasions and conquests that occurred in Italy over the centuries, the people wanted a stone that would provide the highest protection. A uniting element with these magnificent villas are that the limestone were carved into uniform blocks and instead of the rounded quoins of the countryside villas, came to a very sharp angle.

The classic stonework of Tuscany has the ability to take you back into the time of the Medici, makes you feel the power in Michelangelo’s statue of David and forces you to dream of your own Tuscan villa, perched hilltop overlooking the rolling vineyards.
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Hall, Christopher. “Tales of a Tuscan Farmhouse.” Architectural Digest. Architectural Digest, Feb. 2007. Web. 05 Dec. 2013. <http://www.architecturaldigest.com/decor/2007-02/fletcher_article>.

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