The Tower of Maiano: between past and modernity
The Tower of the Lake of Columns, also known as Tower of Maiano, is located in Fiesole, near Florence. It was built by businessman Sir John Temple Leader between 1885 and 1886, inside the Quarry of the Columns – source of the material used to make the columns of the Chapel of Princes in San Lorenzo and the Staircase to the vestibule in the Laurentian Library, both designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti in Florence for Lorenzo de’ Medici.
The Tower was also known as “of Maiano” because if was part of a vast estate that also included the villa of the same name and the Castle of Vincigliata. Here, Sir John had the Romantic Park of the Queen created, inaugurated by Queen Victoria in 1883.
In the following decades, Sir John’s successors continued to enhance his legacy. In 1961, the property was inherited by Lucrezia Corsini, who decided to extend the park by adding 50 hectares to the existing 270, and started growing olive trees and providing hospitality.
The Tower was therefore renovated according to an ambitious project by architect Simone Micheli, to create a structure that could welcome guests and offer them a unique experience, almost like a dream lived out of time. The interiors were designed in a minimalist and ultra-modern style, contrasting with the historical walls to highlight their cultural value. Fine furniture was all custom made. With the living area on the first floor, sleeping quarters on the second, wellness area with Turkish bath on the third, and finally – at the end of a small staircase – an open solarium, Simone Micheli called his project “Big dream in a little tower”. Indeed, entering this harmonic yet bare space, one cannot avoid feeling immersed in a dream, in touch with the pristine nature of the park, and close to the rich history of this building. It is a place designed to be a work of art in and of itself, steeped in the natural context of a fairy tale.