Gardens & Landscapes

La Foce: Paradise in Tuscany

Discover La Foce, the Renaissance villa and classically inspired twentieth-century garden, at the dawn of its hundredth anniversary—once a barren Tuscan estate brought to life through the extraordinary vision and determination of Iris and Antonio Origo.

In 1924, English-born biographer and writer Iris Origo (1902–1988) and her husband, Antonio, purchased La Foce, a sprawling estate centered around a half-ruined fifteenth-century villa with a dream that was as ambitious as it was audacious. Guided by a deep-seated desire to make a difference, the Origos dedicated their lives to transforming an impoverished terrain into a thriving landscape of wheat fields, olive groves, and vineyards. With English architect Cecil Pinsent, they refurbished the house and designed an elegant terraced garden with box hedges, a rose garden, fountains, and a wisteria-covered pergola.

The dramatic story of La Foce—from the taming of the wild valley and personal loss to wartime strife—is told by the Origos’ granddaughter Katia Lysy, with reminiscences by Benedetta Origo, the couple’s elder daughter. The letters and diaries of Iris Origo weave beautifully into a personal narrative of the creation of the property and the people behind it. Newly commissioned photographs by Simon Upton and Matteo Carassale, a foldout annotated view of the property, and a recently discovered cache of unpublished images of the creation of the garden in the 1920s bring to life the rich history of the magnificent property.

About The Author

Katia Lysy is a journalist and a literary translator. She now assists her mother, Benedetta Origo, in the management and development of the family estate of La Foce. Benedetta Origo is the daughter of Iris and Antonio Origo and the owner of La Foce. Simon Upton is one of the foremost names in interiors photography, with more than twenty-five years of published work to his credit. Matteo Carassale is an Italian photographer who has contributed work to international travel, interior, garden, and nature magazines.

  • Publish Date: September 17, 2024
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Gardening - Garden Design
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 8-1/2 x 10
  • Pages: 210
  • US Price: $60.00
  • CDN Price: $80.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-3624-6

Author Bookshelf: Simon Upton