Villa Rimorelli, which had long been the property of the Pecori Giraldi family who donated it to the Comune di Borgo San Lorenzo (Florence – Tuscany) in 1979, is one of the most interesting buildings in the area.
Probably built on the site of an earlier building belonging to the Giraldi family, one of the most illustrious names in the region, the building became the property of Count Antonio Pecori in 1748, who added his name to that of its previous owners.
The large two-storey villa has a beautiful Renaissance style façade surmounted by a robust battlemented tower, which was substiantally restored in 1902.
The interior decoration of each room was started during the late 19th century and included paintings by Angiolino Romagnoli (1836-1890, a painter from Borgo, cited in Lino Chini’s history of the Mugello.
The involvement of the Chini family in the villa’s decoration can be dated to as early as the mid 19th century (1854). Pietro Alessio, the head of the family, together with his young son Pio, executed some of the interior decoration, while the embellishment of the first floor was undertaken by Leto Chini, whose hand is instantly recognizable in the medieval style paintings in the entrance hall.
Between 1906 and 1911 Galileo Chini was commissioned by General Guglielmo Pecori Giraldi to complete the complex pictorial decoration of the entrance hall. This included the coats of arms and heraldic insignia of noble Florentine families who were historically related to the Pecori Giraldi and of their illustrious family members. The villa and its ornamentation were damaged by the earthquake of the 29th June 1919; subsequent restoration work of the decorative elements was undertaken by Tito Chini with the help of his uncle Pietro.
The large entrance hall, which includes the main doorway, constitutes the heart of the villa and was pivotal to the entire decorative scheme.
The fresco on the east wall of the room, depicting Saint George Slaying the Dragon, is attributable to Galileo.
The architrave of the door on the west wall (which leads to the small room beneath the tower) is surmounted by a majolica panel depicting a light relief of The Crown of Thorns against a blue background. The artefact whose remarkable quality can be seen in its strong colour contrast and confident draughtsmanship, particularly in the execution of the hair, is attributable to Galileo, while its concept dates it to the early 1900s.
The east wall next to the door leading to the large hall with a fireplace, is decorated with the painted coat of arms of Lavinia Morosini, the secondo wife of Marshal Guglielmo Pecori Giraldi whom he married in 1917. The work is inscribed with the date 1921-22 and signed with the double signature of Tito Chini.
The small room beneath the tower is adjacent to another room decorated with floral 19th century painting (possibly attributable to Pietro Alessio), which includes a graceful little fireplace that is entirely covered in majolica tiles from the Fornaci San Lorenzo.
The entrance hall leads to a large room which includes a monumental ceramic fireplace at the far end. Its structure includes a mock Renaissance relief decoration, while the coats of arms of the Pecori and the Giraldi can be seen on the side pilasters. The inside of the chimney piece is lined with ceramic tiles and geometric motifs also from the Fornaci San Lorenzo.
The small room leading to the spiral staircase which gives access to the floor above, is remarkable for the decoration of two walls, comprising a motif in imitation wallpaper with a white and black lozenge motif on the lower half of the walls. The upper half of the wall is painted blue and surmounted by a final painted frieze in trilobite arches.
The splendid curve of the staircase, whose spiral motion is reminiscent of the art nouveau style, fills a room that is decorated with monochrome geometric motifs.
The rooms on the upper floors include numerous decorations by the various members of the Chini family predominantly depicting geometric or stylized foliate motifs.