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Tuscan Gardens in Tuscany

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With its ancient cypresses, formal vegetable garden around a multilevel fish pond, and exquisite teatro di verzura (outdoor theater, its backdrop formed by neatly trimmed greenery), Villa di Geggiano's gardens sit splendidly against the picture-perfect landscape south of Siena (1 Via Geggiano, Pianella, near Castelnuovo Berardenga; 39-0577-356-879; www.grandigiardini.it). After you've admired landscape architect Pietro Porcinai's modern tribute to the wooden wonderpuppet in the Parco di Pinocchio, don't miss Collodi's other, lesser-known attraction, the early Baroque gardens at Villa Garzoni. On the lower level are magnificent formal parterres, and a monumental staircase leads up to an artful wilderness of holm oaks (1 Piazza della Vittoria, Collodi; 39-0572-429-590; www.grandegiardini.it). Also near Pistoia, the Fattoria di Celle is a 19th-century romantic garden, complete with purpose-built outcrops and "cliffs." Works from the Gori collection are scattered around the 20-hectare park, representing many of the big names of contemporary sculpture, landscape art, and site-specific installations (7 Via Montalese, Santomato di Pistoia; 39-0573-479-907). Just south of Monetpulciano is La Foce, an English take on the Italian garden designed in the early 20th century by Cecil Pinsent. From the lemon garden with its tall box hedges, the view extends over a formal cypress-edged space across spectacular, spectral Val d'Orcia to southern Tuscany's highest mountain, Monte Amiata (61 Strada della Vittoria, Chianciano Terme; 39-0578-691-01; www.lafoce.com; open to public on Wednesday afternoons).

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