This elegantly designed and illustrated book provides a rare introduction to the rural villas of Tuscany. Rich in history, art, and architecture, these country seats of the Medici, Corsi, Chigi della Rovere, and other distinguished families reflect a lifestyle that has seldom been matched anywhere in the world. Cresti's introductory chapters provide insights into daily life at the villas, the basic architectural types and styles, and the important role of gardens and interior appointments. The second half of the book focuses on 54 villas, both large and small, providing a short history of the family and the villa's significant features. Since many of the properties are closed to the public, this sumptuously illustrated book provides unique glimpses into the life of Tuscan nobility. Highly recommended.-H. Ward Jandl, National Park Srvc., Washington, D.C.