Villa that inspired Pinocchio for sale in Italy

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Pinocchio by Enrico Mazzanti, the first illustrator (1883) of The Adventures of Pinocchio/Wikicommons.
08:16 CET+01:00
A villa near Florence that inspired the author of Pinocchio is on the market for €10.5m - a world away from the humble workshop where the marionette is born in the book.

The 3,000-square-metre mansion has three hectares of garden including a lawn known as the "Field of Miracles" where a gardener famously found a hoard of coins in the 19th century - a story that was included in "The Adventures of Pinocchio".

Pinocchio's author Carlo Collodi lived near the villa in Sesto Fiorentino, now a suburb of Florence, where his brother worked at a local porcelain manufacturing plant, and several other local sites also feature in his tale.

"We are at the centre of the Collodi tour, at the centre of where Pinocchio was conceived," said Giuseppe Garbarino, a local historian who is helping the owners of Villa di Colonnata - the Gerini family - sell their estate.

The "Field of Miracles" appears in Pinocchio as a place where a wily fox and cat persuade the gullible Pinocchio to bury his money, telling him that it will grow and multiply.

A former tavern near the villa is also in the book, as well as the neighbourhood itself - referred to as the "Land of the Barn Owls", a nickname once given to local porcelain workers because of the dust they were covered in.

"It would be nice if the new owner was a Pinocchio fan!" said Garbarino, who is himself writing a book about Pinocchio and his local connections.

The historian said that currently only a few diehard Pinocchio fans come to visit - as well as school groups - but added that any new owner could make much more of the links with the still widely loved children's favourite.

Pinocchio was written in instalments in a children's journal between 1881 and 1883 and tells the story of a carpenter, Geppetto, who fashions a wooden marionette of a boy out of a walking stick.

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The puppet's nose extends every time he tells a lie and his only dream is to become a human boy.

Any aficionados of the story who visit also have an extra treat in store - a tiny falling-down house on the sprawling estate that elderly locals remember being told as children belonged to the fairy that helps Pinocchio in his wanderings.

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