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The Villa Rucellai di Canneto is located in the Bisenzio river valley, on the lower slopes of the Retaia - the last ramparts of the Calvana pre-Appennine chain.  Previously  in its place there were buildings probably connected to the nearby ancient etruscan track to Mugello, today known as Via di Valibona, and the roman road that runs through the neighborhood of Canneto and up along the left bank of the Bisenzio river all the way to Colle.


In the middle ages Canneto was a fortified post of the Republic of Prato (12th-13th century) built to survey the valley along with two other forts, one known as Torricella, also transformed into a villa, on the right bank of the river near Santa Lucia, and the second whose remains are still visible at Poggio Castello above the Via di Valibona.

The Villa has gradually achieved its present aspect through four main periods.

The first, the medieval, when the fortified tower was built with its almost square layout, today corresponding to the main living room and the area beneath it. Traces of this tower still remain such as a row of alberese stone blocks on the south-western corner towards the garden, and a stretch of the cut alberese stone wall to the north, with its typical floor marker, used later as base for a small bell-tower.


Dating to the second period is the characteristic symmetric 15th century tuscan house, on three floors, each with three openings, a central columbarium tower, and a fish-breeding pool set in front of the facade. The pool, now a modern swimming pool, is mentioned in one of the "Discorsi degli animali" (Animal Discourses) written in 1540 by Agnolo Firenzuola, once Abbot of S.Salvatore in Vaiano. This house is listed as a "casa da signore" (gentleman's house) in the first florentine "catasto" (estate register) of 1427.