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Photographer's Note

A highlight of our stay in San Quirico d’Orcia was a visit to the wonderful gardens of La foce. Despite the overcast weather, the hour long tour was wonderful; both informative and fascinating and I felt the recent history of the Val d-Orcia come to life.

Villa La Foce is found in the crete senesi (clay hills of Sienna) overlooking the Val d'Orcia, in southern Tuscany. La Foce has been continuously inhabited for many centuries and being situated on the Via Francigena increased its significance. The Villa itself was built in the late 15 C as a hospice for pilgrims and merchants traveling on the via Francigena.

In 1924 the property was bought by Antonio Origo and his Anglo-American wife Iris, the daughter of Lady Sybil Cutting, the owner of Villa Medici at Fiesole where Iris Origo spent much or her early life. They dedicated their lives to bringing prosperity and cultural and social changes to this formerly poverty-stricken area of the Val d'Orcia. Years of work were devoted to preparing the difficult terrain for modern agriculture. The gardens and estate of La Foce constitute one of the most important and best kept early twentieth-century gardens in Italy.

Amid 3,500 acres of farmland in the countryside near Pienza, with sweeping views of the Tuscan landscape, La Foce was the childhood dream garden of Iris Origo. Passionate about the order and symmetry of Florentine gardens, she and her husband employed the talented English architect and family friend Cecil Pinsent, who had designed the gardens at Villa Medici, to reawaken the natural magic of the property. Pinsent designed the structure of simple, elegant, box-edged beds and green enclosures that give shape to the Origos' shrubs, perennials and vines, and created a garden of soaring cypress walks, native cyclamen, lawns and wildflower meadows.

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This photograph is copyright of Rosemary Walden - © Rosemary Walden 2014. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of the image in any form is prohibited. You may not, except with my express written permission, copy, reproduce, download, distribute or exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system

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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2711 W: 79 N: 6619] (30058)
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