Temporary Exhibition April 15 - June 28, 2024

Recent initiatives in digitization, cataloging, and scholarly research within the photograph archive and libraries have unearthed a wealth of new insights. By juxtaposing these findings with the pages of Harold Acton’s autobiography, Memoirs of An Aesthete (1948), researchers, in collaboration with students from New York University, have gained valuable insights into the family dynamics and formative years of Harold (1904-1994) and William Acton (1906-1945).

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The Acton Collection decorates the interior of Villa La Pietra with more than 6000 objects from a wide range of styles and media including early Italian panel paintings, Flemish tapestries, Renaissance polychrome sculptures, French dresses, Art Nouveau silver, Chinese ceramics, and Baroque furniture.

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Opportunities for Students


The La Pietra Garden is one of the most celebrated in Italy. A Renaissance revival garden, it reflects the tastes of the large Anglo-American community that lived in Florence at the turn of the nineteenth century.

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Photograph Archive

The visual material in this Archive relates to the lives of the family: Hortense Mitchell (1871-1962), her husband, Arthur Acton (1873-1953), and their two sons Harold (1904-1994) and William (1906-1945).

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The Season

The Season is a summer celebration of creative collaboration and exploration conducted throughout the grounds of Villa la Pietra and its extraordinary and scenographic gardens.

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