Villa Graziani is located along the road which connects San Giustino to the village of Celalba.
Internally it is set up in accordance with modern scientific educational standards, the Archaeological Museum of the Villa di Plinio in Tuscis, systematically under investigation from 1986 to 2003. On the ground floor and lower ground floor the history of the Alta Valle del Tevere area’s agricultural landscape is documented: the territory in the Roman period is presented in all of its areas, from the land division to the cultivation method carried out, in primis that of the vines. On the first floor some plastic, three-dimensional excavations are reconstructed, and also the most significant pieces exposed that emerged during the excavation at Colle Plinio: you can admire personal ornamental articles, elegant tableware and even jars, that once contained the wine that flowed freely at the banquets that in the past they laid out in their lavish abodes.
The Villa hosts permanent exhibitions with displays of artwork by the artist Bruno Bartoccini (1910-2001) and Attilio Pierelli (1924-2013), opened respectively in 2014 and 2015. The section dedicated to Bartoccini, originally from Citerna, is made up of nineteen pieces, amongst them graphics and designs and six sculptures donated to the council of San Giustino.
A splendid example of late Renaissance nobel residence, Villa Graziani was commissioned at the beginning of the seventeenth century by Carlo Graziani, member of a Tifernate family originally from Tuscany, to the architect Antonio Cantagallina of Sansepolcro, follower of Vasari. The villa rises above a pre-existing medieval fortress and its structure, quadrangular in shape, extends on three levels surmounted by a 17-metre-tall turret. The essential façade is characterised by an orthogonal grid of pilasters and frames except on the first floor, where a central lodge with three arches is supported by slender columns. The complex is completed on the left by the farm house and on the right by the small church dedicated to Madonna di Loreto, built in 1622. On the central axis of the building, the Italian garden on the front with a central fountain and boxwood hedges and the exedra at the back align. Beyond the exedra, you can reach the rose garden and the holm-oak park alongside the olive grove and the newly planted orchard, in memory of the original plants. In the large park you can find a chapel where, according to some, saint Francesco rested during his walk from Assisi to La Verna.
“The appearance of the land is beautiful: imagine an amphitheatre which can only have been created by nature. A vast and open plain is surrounded by mountains, and the tops of the mountains have impressive and ancient forests. […]”. This is how Plinio il Giovane (61-112 DC), orator of the first Imperial age and governor of Bithynia under Trajan, describes the area in which his villa in Tucsis is located, in a letter to his friend Apollinare (V, 6). In the twentieth century thanks to the historic Tifernate Giovanni Magherini Graziani it was possible to identify the place in which the villa of the Roman magistrate stood in the remains which came to light in the field of Santa Fiora, in the vicinity of the current village of Colle Plinio.
The identification has been confirmed by the discovery of stamps etched into a tile containing the letters CPCS, matching the initials of the complete name of Plinio: Caius Plinius Caecilus Secundus.
The structures which emerged during the excavations carried out by the Universities of Perugia and Alicante from 1986 to 2003, are pertinent to the pars rustica, i.e. the area which hosted the spaces and the instruments for agricultural production. Some findings are relative both at the stages of building chronologically preceding the Plinian property (third and second centuries BC and the end of the first century BC to the beginning of the first century AD), documented by the brickwork branded with the names of the owners or of the emperor, and after, as the findings are evidence to the popularity of the area at least until the fifth century AD.
P. Braconi – J. Uroz Sàez ” La Villa di Plinio il Giovane a San Giustino. Primi risultati di una ricerca in corso”, Perugia 1999
P. Braconi, La Pieve ‘Vecchia’ di San Cipriano e la villa in Tuscis di Plinio il Giovane, in Umbria Cristiana. Dalla Diffusione del culto al culto dei santi (secc. IV-X) (Atti Spoleto 2000), Spoleto 2001, pp. 737 ss.
P. Braconi – J. Uroz Sàez, Il tempio nella tenuta di Plinio il Giovane in Tuscis, in Eutopia n.s. I 1-2, 2001, pp. 203 ss.
P. Braconi – J. Uroz Sàez “La villa di Plinio il Giovane a San Giustino”in Mercator placidissimus. The Tiber valley in antiquity. New research in the upper and midlle river valley (Atti del Convegno, Roma, British Schoool at Rome, 27-28 febbraio 2004) a cura di F. Coarelli e H. Patterson, Roma 2008, pp. 93 ss;
A. Durante, Ville Parchi e Giardini in Umbria, Roma, 2000, pp. 9-12;
D. Canosci, Ville e grandi residenze di campagna nell’Umbria settentrionale, (Quaderno n. 9). Perugia: Istituto policattedra di Geografia dell’Università degli Studi di Perugia, 1987, pp. 132-133.
M. Meozzi, La storia di Villa Graziani di Celalba, in “Pagine Altotiberine”, 29.2006, pp. 121-136.
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