Prato, Villa Vai al Mulinaccio, Vaiano
A fifteenth century villa with an elegant garden
Villa Vai al Mulinaccio was built by Cosimo Sassetti between the end of the fifteenth and the start of he sixteenth century.
The villa belonged first to the Strozzi family and then, from the year 1661, to the Vai family. The Vai family made the villa into the heart of a vast agricultural area under their control with around 36 farms dotted around their land.
The main villa and other buildings look out onto a lateral courtyard, including a carpentry workshop and olive press. The villa has lovely wooden ceilings and frescoed walls. The farm buildings are still home to a large kitchen area known as the ‘cucinone’, with a huge fireplace with stone shelving.
The villa’s walled garden was created between 1737 and 1738. The gate into the garden has stone pilasters with obelisks. At the bottom of the garden there is an elegant nymphaeum with three niches, decorated with mosaics and mother of pearl and crowned with terracotta vases. Opposite this there are some farm buildings, including the hay barn, and the remains of an old furnace. There is an oratory in the corner which was built around the year 1722 and which is dedicated to Sant’Antonio Abate.
Inside the oratory there are eighteenth century statues by a local Prato artist of Sant’Antonio da Padova con Bambino and a Vergine Assunta, made of terracotta. On the altar there is a painting of the Madonna col Bambino tra i Santi Giovanni Evangelista e Sant’Antonio Abate which was commissioned by Giuseppe Vai to Antonio Marini in 1845.
The villa is currently property of the local council of Vaiano.