Villa La Pietra is a renaissance villa in the hills outside Florence, in Tuscany in central Italy. It was formerly the home of Arthur Acton and later of his son Harold Acton, on whose death in 1994 it was bequeathed to New York University. The villa is now home to NYU Florence.HistoryVilla La Pietra was bought and somewhat modified in the 1460s by the Florentine banker Francesco Sassetti. In 1545 or 1546 it was sold to the. The villa was given its present form in the seventeenth century by the cardinal Luigi Capponi, possibly with the assistance of Carlo Fontana. During the brief period from 1865 to 1871 when Florence was capital of the Kingdom of Italy, the villa was used as the embassy of Prussia.In 1903 Arthur Acton, an Anglo-Neapolitan art dealer, rented it after his marriage to Hortense Mitchell, the daughter of a banker from Chicago, Illinois, William Mitchell. With money from her family, the couple bought the villa in 1907.The villa contains the art collection assembled by the Actons, which reflects twentieth-century Anglo-American taste. It is used for didactic purposes by New York University. The collection includes works from the circle of Giotto, Romanesque sculptures, a relief of the Virgin and Child by Donatello, and fifteenth-century tapestries made for the de' Medici family.
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