Wednesday 8 February 2023

The guardians of History: interview with Giovanni Corsini, historical owner of Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte

Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte was conceived as we see it today by Prince Giovancarlo dei Medici who sold it to the Corsini family in 1644. As narrated in Florentine chronicles as early as 1636, ever since then the young prince set out to use the villa as a place to host events. The architect Don Giovanni Corsini and his wife Donna Inès, restored Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte and continued this tradition. In 1966 Don Giovanni and his father began the activity of hosting events again, thanks to which the villa found new life. When Don Giovanni and Donna Inès got married, she took over the villa with her immense care to upkeep this historically and artistically unique place.

Architect, how did the idea of starting this activity come about?

Upon my return from Mozambique in 1960, I had to face a difficult historical period that effectively marked the end of sharecropping. Until then, the Villa had been at the service of the Fattoria di Mezzomonte, an economic reality well rooted in the area, with strong production of local products such as oil, wine, honey and small livestock. The growing events market in those same years brought unexpected requests to use the rooms on the main floor of the Villa for this purpose. From that moment, my wife Donna Inès and I began a process of profound restoration over many years, to bring the villa back to its splendor and to host events.

Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte is a Medici Villa that has been passed on to many renowned figures and it is a historical place that is still magical today. What does it feel like to be custodians of so much history and so much art?

It was a difficult path at first: in 1996 Inès and I decided to bring our family back to Mezzomonte and we worked hard to restore every fresco, every floor and bring the gardens back to life, to return Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte to the original beauty envisioned by Prince Giovancarlo dei Medici. Living in a place like this means protecting it so that future generations can enjoy the beauty, history and culture it represents.

How do you maintain a functioning business model in a place where culture is the main protagonist?

By enhancing the historical-artistic uniqueness of the place, over the years we have ensured that these could be competitive advantages for all those wishing to host an event in Florence and Tuscany. By enhancing and developing the logistical functions of the villa, we have been able to host events that satisfy all possible needs. Two of my sons, Tommaso and Lorenzo, now carry on the business.

What does Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte represent for the area in your opinion?

In 85 years of life, I have been able to see how the relationship between the surrounding area of Mezzomonte and the Villa has changed. The closure of the primary activities of the Fattoria di Mezzomonte has certainly redefined the relationships that we had with the territory, starting with the families that had the right to sharecropping. Today Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte is a source of tourism, especially international one in the Chianti area, also thanks to the world of events. The care of the immense artistic heritage has meant that it is not only a location for events, but also a place for other purposes related to its beauty: photoshoots, tastings of typical regional products and guided tours.

Are you happy with how the new generation, your two children, are dealing with the Property?

We didn’t ask any of our children take over the property, releasing them from this obligation was the key to making them masters at their job today. They have always naturally shown an innate curiosity for the events world, especially Tommaso, who at a very young age slipped through the secret passages of the apartments to spy on the events taking place. Lorenzo, on the other hand, has always had a particular bond with the Villa and with the area on which it is located. In addition to being skillful promoters of the property, they are also irreplaceable voices of its history: Corsini.Events is the result of years of research to find people (and not personnel) that are able first and foremost to understand the uniqueness and magic that the place represents.