Origins and Development of the Villa
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Origins and Development of the Villa book
The origins of the extra-urban villas of Tuscany lie in the pattern of events – already the subject of well-known studies – arising from the dissolution of feudal estates and their replacement with properties owned by the bourgeoisie, with all the socio-economic differences inherent in the two different methods of organizing production, even if this was a gradual process and took place in stages.1 As we know, during the 12th and 13th centuries the dramatic changes in urban life and the establishment of institutions to govern a communal society led to profound changes in the agricultural economy, making an impact on current terms of production and giving rise to new and more dynamic forms of capital accumulation. Alongside the feudally-inspired manorial order there developed a system of freedom of cultivation, whether through the allotment of land with rent being paid in kind, the usurpation of property, or the granting of concessions in exchange for services rendered. Much land came into the possession of the countrymen who worked it, with the accord of the secular or ecclesiastic owners of the feudal properties, while farmers paid in kind with farming produce and, later, money.