Villa Nieuwenkamp – Bishop’s rest

The villa, built over a pre-existing country house that belonged to the Badia Fiesolana, was transformed into a stately home in the 19th Century. The name “Bishop’s Rest” comes from the pause that the bishops would take on the climb up to Fiesole. In 1926 it became the home of the Dutch painter, engraver and architect Wijnand Otto Jan Nieuwenkamp who became closely associated with this place. After travelling extensively in the Dutch Indies and done wanderings in Italy W.O.I.N. (the way he signed all his drawings) was won over by the climate and landscape and chose Fiesole to build what he called the Villa on the Hill. He spent twenty-five years attending personally to decorating the villa, also enlarging the park in an eclectic imaginative fashion. He produced two works on the subject, the first of which was illustrated with photographs and the second by splendid drawings of his own. The garden is a verdant scenario with a decadent allure where the original layout and ancient splendour can still be seen. Fountains, statues and marble furniture are to be found all over the garden just as this versatile artist planned and realised. There are many objects and statues from the Orient which Nieuwenkamp collected during his travels – a bronze gong, a statue of Buddha, as well as large terracotta basins and oil jars from Impruneta.