The Tuscan region is an area marked by not only culture, but a style that is unique to this area. In the 1400’s, wealthy families started to build large homes that they designed to last a long time out of the stone that they had locally. Many of the villas that are still around today are centuries old, a style that is marked by the building materials that were used then and still used now to preserve the history of these structures. Building materials that were used show details about what was available locally when the home was constructed. As transportation wasn’t as convenient as it is today, builders used the local materials for construction.
Tuscany is widely known for its distinct building style that consists of lots of natural elements. One of the most commonly used stones is sandstone. In the area between Florence and Arezzo lies the Pratomagno mountain range. Erosion dragged sandstone down the mountain and into the area between this mountain range and the Chianti region where a lake formed. These formations were extracted and transported on the Arno river to Florence where they were used to develop many of the buildings that make the city so famous today.
An example of sandstone features in Tuscan Villas is Villa Fiesole.
Another region that has beautiful natural materials is the northwest region of Tuscany surrounding Lucca. The beautiful, white marble that is coveted all over the world is produced right here in Carrara. This marble has been mined for centuries for use in both buildings and statues, with plenty of supply left it should last for generations. This stone is commonly used for flooring and countertops, as well as smaller details in homes. It also inspired famous artists such as Michelangelo, who used it to create the David.
Luxurious Carrara marble interiors as seen in Villa Classica
Moving south of Florence to Siena, there is a different type of natural stone that influenced the design of Tuscan villas. Travertine became more popular beginning in the 1400’s in Italy and it began to replace traditional stone materials a short while later. It wasn’t until the 19th century that it became popular all over the world.