The History of Villa Lecchi

The first document where "La Corte de Liche" appears dates from 994. In particular, it is mentioned in the so-called "morgengabe", that is to say, the dowry asset that Tegrimo-Teuzo, son of Ava di Ildebrando, presented to Sindrada.
In 1086, Ildebrando's wife Ava, a woman of Lombardian origin, founded the Monastery of the Island, which is known today as Abbadia a Isola.
The genealogy tree, drawn up as an inverted tree in a non-notarised hence undated form (1150-1160), was spread by the monks of San Salvatore dell’Abbadia (a Isola) to ascertain the asset solidity conferred by the monastery founders and their heirs.
In fact, La Corte de Lecchi is the subject of donations, changing its name overtime from "LICHE" to "Castellum de Leke" in 1147.
During the twelfth century, the assets of S. Salvatore dell’Isola were indeed granted as a fief to the so-called "filii mazzi e filli rustici" heirs of Ava.
In 1399, La Corte di Lecchi is donated again to a Florentine cleric, who rejected the same in 1401 in favour of the Monastero S. Salvatore dell’Isola. As the Monastero S. Salvatore dell’Isola disappears, the assets of Santa Maria a Lecchi pass to the Monaci Cassinesi di Siena.
From what can be inferred from the entrance to its private chapel, Villa di Lecchi appears in 1500 as a two-storey structure in the traditional, square Tuscan style, which is a far cry from its current construction.
But even before it became a villa as such, it was the first residence of the Ventura or Venturi family in this area.
The family's patriarch, depicted in the frescoes of the central hall of the Villa, was Ventura di Iacopo, born in 1264 in Poggibonsi and a resident of Florence for most of his life.
However, the beauty of the Villa in its current structure and of the entire courtyard is certainly due to Marianna, daughter of the Knight Paolo Lodovico Garzoni and Carlotta di Pietro Colon, the adopted daughter of Ippolito Venturi.

Marianna married the Marquis Carlo Ginori Lisci in 1821 and began a series of transformations of the entire property, commissioning the work to the Florentine architect Francolini.
During the works, he completely altered the structure of the villa by building two towers and enlarging the central body, leaving only the entrance of the property, where a small chapel stands, to bear witness of its original structure.
What is more, Francolini was asked to add a park with trees and ornamental, evergreen plants for the most part, as well as spongy rock caves, paths and marble statues.
He also created the Belvedere, a beautiful terrace overlooking the astounding Tuscan landscape to this day.
On her part, Marianna painted dining room frescoes, where the most important ancestors in Venturi's genealogy are portrayed  
Immediately out of the gate, and then overlooking the main building also internally, we encounter the so-called farmhouse, a structure largely devoted to farming uses for nearly two centuries; modified only in part during the works of 1857, it remains nearly unchanged and counts among the earliest settlements of Lecchi in 1500.
In the early 1800s, walls with battlements and sentry boxes were erected with stones donated by the Counts of the Castello di Staggia. 
In 1863, Ippolito Ginori, grandson of Marianna, inherits the house and the whole property.
He turns two small stables into a woodshed, which would eventually become the limonaia (lemon-house) of the villa.
Before the Second World War, the property covers about a thousand hectares around Lecchi, reaching the lands of Monteriggioni and Poggibonsi.
In 1920, the frescoes of the villa are restored by the famous Florentine artist Cesare Benini, author among others of major works at Palazzo Pitti.
Immediately after the war, the agrarian reform breaks up the large property in plots, and sells them to the farmers who worked them for generations. While the villa and the courtyard still remain, they change hands too often for proper care in subsequent years; in this period, indeed, most of the furniture and furnishings, treasured by the same family for 300 years, are irremediably lost.
In the 1950s, the Madonnina that stood in a cave in the woods below the villa is snatched by the farmer. Heavily indebted, no one could enjoy this "cursed" theft.
At that time, a charitable trust acquires - for a symbolic price - so-called Villa Marianna, renamed for religious purposes by a noblewoman from Siena as Villa Santa Caterina.
Initially suited as a permanent colony for underprivileged children, orphans and the poor, it progressively becomes a care, education and rehabilitation centre for children with mental disorders, often derived from institutions for the mentally handicapped.
In 1980, with the new health care reform, the centre loses its legal status and the trust leaves the villa, which was literally falling apart at the time.
In 1991, Mr Giuseppe Canocchi, a building contractor at the time, acquired the dilapidated structure aiming at its renovation and later sale. During the works, however, he learnt to admire the magnificent place and changed his mind altogether: along with his family members, he chose not to sell the property but to create a hotel instead. To that end, he set out on recovering the original splendour of the villa through a major restoration work, including its once astounding artistic ornaments.
The restaurant opened in 1991 and in 1993, after years of careful restoration work, the hotel itself.
Over the years, our facility has established itself both nationally and internationally, earning several awards along the way. For example, our hotel has earned 6 Tripadvisor certificates of excellence to date. Moreover, it has been reported in Italy's Gambero Rosso (only hotel in the town of Poggibonsi) since 2008 and included for 3 consecutive years (2013/2014/2015) in the travel guide Viaggiarebene.