I readily admit to being a garden nut, with a special love for the formal gardens of the Tuscan villas. Among these, I rank near or at the top of my list the garden of Villa La Foce, created by Cecil Pinsent for Iris Origo in the Crete Senese of Tuscany. This garden is one of the great gardens of the 20 C. Here’s a picture of it with its view over the Val d’orcia with Monte Amiata in the background.
Iris Origo was the daughter of Lady Sybil Cutting, the owner of Villa Medici at Fiesole where Iris spent much of her early life. After Iris’s marriage to Antonio Origo, the couple moved to the then impoverished Crete Senesi region of southern Tuscany where they introduced greatly improved agricultural methods to their own estate and the farms of their neighbours. One of the great projects of Iris’s life was to provide the opportunity for Cecil Pinsent to create the garden of Villa La Foce. Both the garden and the villa may be visited, and they should not be missed by anyone spending a few days in the Val d’Orcia.
Iris Origo was also a gifted author whose books are still a pleasure to read today. Her most famous books are “The Merchant of Prato” and “War in the Val d’Orcia“, both of them highly evocative and worth reading before your visit to Tuscany.
More about Villa La Foce and Iris Origo.
More about the Val d’Orcia.