Photo Credit: The Acton Photograph Archive, Photographs of William Acton aged 15 and Harold Acton aged 18

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Event Details

Mon, April 15, 2024

17:00 – 19:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Florence, Italy

This was one of the last summers [1916] we were to spend in Florence for several years, and as if I had a premonition of it I was unable to concentrate on anything in particular, but rushed about with a pocket camera taking photographs of secret corners that had a magical significance I could not have explained. (Harold Acton, Memoirs, p. 57)

Using primary sources from family photographs, books and magazines, games and toys, paintings, drawings and costumes, NYU researchers and students gained insights into the lives of William and Harold Acton, from childhood to early adulthood. How did the Villa and the Gardens impact their future lives? Who were their caregivers and friends? What were their favorite pastimes? How were they influenced and shaped by extensive travelling? What happened at the Villa and during their lives throughout World War I? How did the Anglo-American community respond to the War?

These issues will be addressed and presented in a special display in a Villa room that was historically the children’s day nursery.

The exhibition is co-curated by Francesca Baldry, Collection Manager, Villa La Pietra NYU Florence, and Lisa Cesarani, Researcher NYU Florence,

NYU Students involved: Lucy Harmon, Insiya Motiwala, Phoebe Price, Dominic Wiharso, Kayla Zur with Irit Laderman, Flynn Murtaugh.

Assistance with the Photo Archive Research: Pamela Ferrari (Centrica Imagine More)

Digital Exhibition Layout: Cristina Fantacci

Installation: Stefano Pasolini, Claudia Beyer e Costanza Perrone di Restauro Tessile, Fortunato Ingino, Sonia Palchetti

Textile Conservation: Claudia Beyer e Costanza Perrone di Restauro Tessile

The exhibition will be open until June 28. To make reservations please write to