Laid out by the Actons from 1908 until the outbreak of the Second World War, the La Pietra Garden’s design is much influenced by the true Renaissance gardens of Florence although it also contains elements reflecting later gardening fashions. As Harold Acton points out in his Memoirs of an Aesthete (1948) the garden of an Italian villa constitutes the natural extension of the house: at Villa La Pietra the sequence of rooms in the house and garden is developed on two perpendicular axes and provides unexpected views in all directions, both indoors and out. Such vistas, many formal in composition, others occurring almost as happy accidents are often made up of combinations of objects, of varying age, made of contrasting materials, colors, forms and styles which perfectly illustrate the eclectic taste prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Garden Resources

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Garden Conservation

In 1999 New York University began a project to restore, to their 1930s heyday, all the gardens and agricultural land that make up the La Pietra estate.

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