The villa and garden in its position overlooking Florence is part of the old complex of the Maiano Farm situated on the slopes of Monte Ceceri, famous for its quarries of pietra serena used by great artists of the Florentine Renaissance. The original “palagio (or palace) of Maiano” was destroyed in 1467 by a storm so violent that the then proprietor Bartolomeo degli Alessandri had to sell the whole complex with its large farm to pay off his debts. Ownership passed into the hands of the Counts of Santa Fiora, and then to the Buonagrazias, the Pazzis (the future saint Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi was born here) and, in the 18th Century, to the Gucci Tolomeis. In 1850 it became part of the possessions of John Temple Leader who purchased it as seen, with everything it contained. This eclectic English politician made the villa his home and the hub of his business affairs, commencing the work of overall restoration of the area which culminated in the neo-gothic reconstruction of the nearby Castello di Vincigliata. The transformation also involved the garden and the famous surrounding hills. A skilful landscaping initiative wooded vast areas with cypresses, ilexes and oaks while more olives and vines were planted on flatter ground. The villa has welcomed many illustrious guests such Queen Victoria who made some sketches of the lake in 1893 for her scrapbook. In more recent times the villa has been used as a set for films like “Room with a View” by James Ivory and Franco Zeffirelli’s “Tea with Mussolini”.
Today the villa is the headquarters of the “Fattoria di Maiano (Maiano Farm)”.