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Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes d'Aragona
Sammezzano e il sogno d'Oriente
The celebration of a man and his dream
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The stunning castle of Sammezzano is located near Leccio, in the municipality of Reggello (Florence). Surrounded by a large park, it was originally built at the beginning of the 17th century by the will of the noble Spanish Ximenes d’Aragona family in a place with a centuries-old history, which has hosted important residences (for example, the place was home to Charlemagne in 780, and also became the property of the Gualtierotti, Altoviti and de ‘Medici families at different times). But it was only in the 19th century that the building took on the Arabic identity that has made it famous. It was Marquis Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes (1813-1897) – who had inherited the castle – who set out to redesign the building, creating this wonder by extending and transforming the existing building through nearly 40 years of work.
This volume celebrates the 200th anniversary since the birth of Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes d’Aragona, and contains the official acts of the meeting which took place in Florence in 2013, with experts such as F. Cardini, K. Aschengreen Piacenti and A. Giuntoli.
The book narrates the polyedric figure of Ferdinando Panciatichi: a collectioner, botanist, bibliophile, entrepreneur, architect, politician and scholar. An emblematic figure for Florence Capital, Ferdinando had a broad culture and played a major role in Florence's cultural, social and political life. He was a fervent fighter during the Revolutions of 1848 and fervishly defended national unity. He was elected counsellor of the Florence Community (until 1865) and Deputy of the Reign until 1867.
He dedicated half of his life to the Castle and Sammezzano Estate, one of the most extraordinary examples of orientalist architecture in Italy.