Villa Puccini's park reflects the English style romantic gardens which represented nature according to the ideal vision so well expressed in the genre of landscape painting.
On the one hand, the park reflects the tastes of the era in its inclusion of monuments, ruins, lakes and islands; on the other, it is one of the most exceptional romantic gardens in all of Italy.
The themes chosen for the statues and the buildings are directly linked to the sympathy for Italian independence and unification shown by Niccolò Puccini; who commissioned the garden. Political issues and an attention for education inspired all the art works he commissioned, from the historical paintings now in the Municipal Museum's collection to the frescos on the ground floor of the villa and to the Festa delle Spighe.
At the high-point of the park's glory, around the 1840s, the buildings and terracotta statues dotted 123 hectares of land; today only a few traces remain.
The park's path begins behind the villa where an avenue of plain trees leads to a large man-made lake; on the island in the center the Temple of Pythagoras was built to commemorate the greatness of ancient Greece.
The cast-iron column raised in honor of Gutenberg recalls, in the wider context of the general taste for revivals, the classical tradition of heroic triumph. A bit further on, to the right side of the lake, one can easily recognize the Gothic Castle that Niccolò selected as his private residence, as well as the Pantheon, a small building in Neoclassical style which houses fourteen terracotta busts dedicated to illustrious men.
A few decades earlier a similar structure had been built in piazza San Francesco with the difference that it had been reserved for illustrious figures of Pistoiaes history. Beyond the the public garden one can glimpse the Napoleon Theater, The Palazzina dei Promessi Sposi (the Little. Palazzo of the Betrothed) that Niccolò wanted as an homage to Alessandro Manzoni's masterpiece, and high on the hill behind the new buildings, Catiline's Tower to commemorate the man who rebelled against the Roman Senate and lost his life on the mountains above Pistoia.
The park once included a second, smaller take as well as the Hermitage and the Gothic Temple. These buildings are today part of the private properties that border the area of the garden still in public use. Another of the park's characteristics was the large number of terracotta sculptures; among those that have survived to today the statue dedicated to the naturalist Linneo is of toponymical interest: in fact the statue's name was changed by Pistoians into Legno rosso which is now the place name of that city suburb.
The Puccini park was divided up in the mid 1800s when it was crossed by the Porrettana railway and later it was dismantled. Today it is a widely used public park.
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Comune di Pistoia