In the heart of Viale dei Colli one can find Villa Agape surrounded by a marvellous garden and an endless park, full of olive tree and cypress. It is situated on one of the rolling tilltops that embrace Florence, albeit hidden from the visitors eys. Whoever would like to reach Villa Agape by public transport can take bus numers 12 or 13. The first one can be taken at the main line station, passing the Cascine Park, going on Via Porta Romana and continuing toward Viale dei Colli. After Viale Macchiavelli and Galileo and before stairway of the Basilica di San Miniato, there is the correct bus stop. One then must walk back a few meters into Via Giramontino until one reaches Piazza Unganelli, then continuing on the right for 50 meters towards Via Torre del Gallo, at number 8-10 one finds Villa Agape. Bus number 13 instead can be taken in Piazza Duomo, passing through Piazzale Michelangiolo one finds the same bus stop at the base of the starway to the Basilia di san Miniato, then walking in the same direction as above. The Villa has 50 beds in bedrooms of one, two or three places all with an internal bathroom and telephone.
THE VILLA'S HISTORY
The origins of Villa Agape are lost in the history ....
In fact the building seems to date back to the Middle Ages when it was built as a simple country-house.
Mr. Carrocci calls it Villa Nesti in his book: "The Environs of Florence" and he locates it near the hill where Villa Giramonte is.
In 1469 this Villa belonged to Bartolommeo di Matteo, who gave it (someone says he bought it) to S. Paolo di Pinti Nuns in 1472.
Jacopo di Raffaello del Nente bought it from the Nuns in 1547 and, in 1602, the Ufficiali dei Pupilli, Jacopo D'Alessandro del Nente's administrators sold it back to Giulio of Filippo Arrighetti.
On reads in the book: "The Families of Florence" by Ciabani editing Bonechi, that Arrighetti's family came to Florence, refugees from Prato, in the first half of the thirteenth century. They had a very poor life becausa ther Arrighetti's property had been confiscated for political reasons.
Later they became merchants with cleverness and cautiousness and they regained theri fortune so by the fourteenth century, the Arrighetti's were part of the most respectable families in Florence.
The Arrighettis were divided into two branches, the first branch moved to France, the second remained in Florence, split up into two parts: the branch of Francesco of Filippo and that of Giuliano (or Giulio).
Jacopo di Raffaello del Nente sold Villa Nesti, which later was called Villa Arrighetti to Giuliano Arrighetti. From Giuliano's branch Andrea became Senator to Ferdinando II and was also a great scholar, man of letters, academic of Crusca, plus being a friend and follower of Galileo. A memorial stone, placed in his memory on the facade of the Villa, recall his great merits:
Villa, however, owes its entire and present magnificence to the Duchess Anna D'Orleans, widow of Amedeo, Earl of Aosta, who bought it in 1948 from Mrs Royle Cladyf, daughter of the late George of Maclean, and she adorned it with gardens, statues and fontains. A large area, located between this Villa and Via Torre del Gallo, which runs along the property, is an abundance of green. Here there are two amazing magnolia trees that, together with the jasmin, covers the whole boundary wall, making the air sweet and scented. This landscape offers the visitor a delightful and attractive view.
The small Chapel, with a loggia, at the back, welcomes anyone who wants to spend a few silent and peaceful hours in the presence of God and nature.