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Event Details

Fri, October 04, 2019 to Sat, October 05, 2019

10:00 – 18:00

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, Italy

A conference  and garden visits.

Cecil Pinsent was a British architect who lived and worked in Tuscany for more than three decades. By the time the Second World War forced his return to Britain he had made his name as a leading exponent of the Renaissance Revival Style. The houses and gardens he designed created the perfect Villa Living for many in the wealthy expat community that called Florence its home. This conference examines Pinsent’s life and work, looks at the benefits and challenges of being a foreign architect in Italy, the wonder that is a Pinsent garden today and the care that is needed to conserve his work for future generations.

OCTOBER 4 (In English and Italian)

8.30 Participants’ Registration

9.00 Welcome
9.15 Introduction to the conference, Giorgio Galletti, Architect, Faculty of the University of Florence
9.30 Tuscany, the Cosmopolitan World of Cecil Pinsent, Mark Roberts, British Institute of Florence (in Italian with English translation)
10.15 The Life of Cecil Pinsent, Ethne Clarke, Gardening writer & journalist, professor University of Colorado, USA (in English)

11.00 Coffee Break

11.30 Return to Villa La Foce: Cecil Pinsent Landscape Architect, Giorgio Galletti (in Italian with English translation)
12.15 The Experience of an Italian Landscape Architect who has Studied and Worked in England, Marco Battaggia, Landscape Architect (in Italian with English translation)

13.00 Light lunch

14.30-17.30 Guided tours of the gardens of Villa Medici and Villa Le Balze (transportation will be provided for NYU Students)

OCTOBER 5 (In Italian)

9.00 Introduzione alla seconda giornata, Giorgio Galletti

9.15 Conservare i giardini degli anni Trenta: un giardino di Cecil Pinsent a Firenze, Mariachiara Pozzana, Architetto, fondatrice di Garden Design Firenze

10.00 La manutenzione di un giardino di Cecil Pinsent fra conservazione e rinnovamento, Margrit Freivogel, Capo-giardiniera Villa I Tatti, Harvard University Firenze

11.00 Pausa caffè

11.30 Cecil Pinsent e gli Origo: amicizia e committenza, Benedetta Origo, Proprietaria di Villa La Foce, Chianciano Terme

12.15 Discussione e conclusioni, a cura di Mariachiara Pozzana

In collaboration with the Associazione Paesaggi e Giardini.

soc. agr. Niccolai Elio e F. S.S.
Dimensione Verde

Con il patrocinio di
Ordine dei Dottori Agronomi e Forestali della Provincia di Firenze
Associazione Dimoriche Storiche Italiane – Sez. Toscana
Fondazione Architetti Firenze
APGI – Associazione Parchi e Giardini d’Italia

Featured Biographies

Marco Battaggia


Marco Battaggia graduated in Forest Science in Italy and then in Landscape Architecture in England. He worked as a landscape architect for more than fifteen years in London in the prestigious studios of Kim Wilkie and Arabella Lennox Boyds. He returned to Italy in 2007 where he opened his own practice in Fiesole. Working in Italy and abroad, his work includes prestigious projects for private clients and luxury resorts. His expertise covers landscape planning in both rural and urban environments. His strength is the constant personal presence and management during the various planning phases, implementation, and maintenance, the latter of which is often not contemplated.

Ethne Clarke


Ethne Clarke is known internationally as a journalist, lecturer and author. Her best-selling books on garden design and landscape history include The Gardens of Tuscany, with an introduction by Sir Harold Acton; an Italian edition was published by Rizzoli in 1991.Other titles include, in 2009, Hidcote: the making of a garden, and in 2013, the biography Infinity of Graces: Cecil Pinsent, an English Architect in the Italian Landscape. Her original research for each biography broke new ground, introducing little known subjects that were influential in the course of 20th century garden design and architecture. Her work on Cecil Pinsent involved a close study of the period in architectural history that bridged the gap between the Arts and Crafts period and early Modernism, and led to her latest book Mid-Century Modern Gardens, published 2017 in the UK, USA and France. Ms. Clarke studied painting and printmaking at the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design and holds a Master of Philosophy from the faculty of Fine Art, De Montfort University, Leicester. She has acted as editor in magazine publishing and has taught at the School of Architecture, University of Texas, and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, where she now lives.

Margrit Freivogel


Margrit Freivogel was born into a farming family in Gelterkinden, Switzerland. On completing her schooling she trained as a gardener at the Gunzenhauser company in her home town specializing in pot plants and cut flowers. Further professional experience in Switzerland enabled her to deepen her knowledge of the cultivation of plants and flowers both under glass and in the field. In Italy she has worked in nursery production, retail sales and in staging floral displays for events. In 1993 she was hired to produce plants for the historic garden at Villa I Tatti and to produce cut flowers for the house. Her wide experience in the field of floral displays ensures her floral decorations within the Villa are admired by all who see them. Margrit became head gardener at Villa I Tatti in 1995 and is responsible for the care of the historic I Tatti garden along with the gardens of various other houses on the property. Since 2003 she has become a well-known and respected teacher on numerous courses organized by the Florentine association “Paesaggi e Giardini” and has published articles and presented papers at a number of professional conferences.

Giorgio Galletti


Giorgio Galletti graduated in architecture at the University of Florence. In 1980 he was hired by MIBAC, the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage. In 1986 Giorgio Galletti became the director of the Ufficio Ville, Parchi e Giardini della Soprintendenza per i Beni Ambientali e Architettonici of Florence. In 2000 he produced the Master Plan for the restoration and conservation of the Boboli Gardens. In January 2002 he resigned his post with the Soprintendenza of Florence and set up his own practice dedicating his time to numerous projects, both public and private, such as the restoration of the garden of Villa Medici in Rome. He is frequently invited to participate in a wide range of cultural events and has spoken at both national and international garden related conferences. Since 2016 he has been a contributing member of the ICOMOC-IFLA-ISCCL committee for updating the Florence Charter on the preservation of historic gardens. He has taught numerous courses at the Universities of Florence, Tuscia and Perugia and has published many articles and academic papers relating to gardens. He teaches Garden History at the School of Landscape Architecture of the University of Florence. Giorgio Galletti won a scholarship to become a Regular Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC, for the academic year 1998/1999.

Benedetta Origo


Benedetta Origo is the owner of the La Foce estate in Val d’Orcia, Tuscany. Originally a musician she went on to spend 20 years as editor at Edizioni dell’Elefante in Rome and for the last 30 years her principle responsibility has been to manage the garden and agricultural activity of the La Foce estate, a task she now shares with her eldest daughter Katia Lysy. Benedetta Origo, together with Morna Livingston, Laurie Olin, and John Dixon Hunt is the author of the book La Foce, a Garden and Landscape in Tuscany.

Maria Chiara Pozzana


Maria Chiara Pozzana was an architect at the Soprintendenze of Potenza, Arezzo and Firenze. Since 1996 she has worked in her own practice, Architettura e Paesaggio in Florence. In addition to numerous projects for private gardens she has worked on projects at the Venaria in Turin (from 1998), the gardens of the Lodi landscape (from 2006). Between 1999 and 2007 she directed the restoration of the Bardini garden in Florence and was responsible for the new gardens of the Cassa di Risparmio in Novoli, Florence. She has acted as consultant to projects in the cities of Florence and Vilnius and is active on many national and international committees relating to cultural heritage. She has taught at the Faculty of Agronomy at the Universities of Pisa, Catania and Florence and at the School of Landscape Architecture in Genoa. In 2014 she founded Garden Design Firenze where she runs courses in garden design. In 1996 she published Giardini storici: principi e tecniche della conservazione, and more recently in 2008 a guide to the Tuscan landscape (edizioni Giunti), and in 2013 Ricette di Giardini (edizioni Casalta).

Mark Roberts


Mark Roberts read English Language and Literature at Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating in 1974. From 1977 to 2019 he worked at the British Institute of Florence, where he organized the cultural program. From 2001 to 2008 he helped organize Sir Harold Acton’s correspondence at Villa La Pietra for New York University. He has worked as a translator for numerous Italian and British publishers. Publications: Streets of Florence, 2001; Upon this Rock, 2017. Awards: Magdalen College Demyship, 1971; MBE, 2004,