The Tuscany Garden Designer
May 5, 1884
Today is the birthday of the British garden designer and architect known for his innovative gardens in Tuscany, Cecil Ross Pinsent.
Cecil worked with the American art historian Bernard Berenson on his iconic estate known as the Villa I Tatti. This relationship opened doors for Cecil, and soon he was soon designing gardens for the wealthy in Tuscany.
In the 1930s, Cecil designed his masterpiece: the gardens at La Foce (“FOE-che”) in Italy, midway between Florence and Rome. Tucked in 3,500 acres of farmland with scenes of the Tuscan landscape as a backdrop, La Foce was commissioned by the writer Marchesa Iris Origo (“O-ree-go”).
In 1924, Iris and her husband, Antonio, purchased the villa, an old, rundown place. Iris reached out to Cecil, a family friend, and tasked him with creating a glorious garden.
Knowing how Iris adored the gardens of Florence, Cecil set about creating the iconic structure of the garden - a series of intimate spaces lined with double box hedging, cypress, lawns, and meadows. The lush green garden is even more striking against the background of the barren Tuscan topography.