Florence, The Boboli Gardens at the Palazzo Pitti

Boboli Gardens at the Palazzo, Florence ItalyGuest Post By: Karen Mills

It was years after I started coming to Florence that I finally got around to visiting the Boboli Gardens. Being interested in the art and architecture of Florence, I focused my efforts on the museums created for those purposes while failing to realize that the Boboli Gardens has all of that and more! Now, it is one of my favorite places and I visit it frequently to take advantage of the cool green space and enjoy the art and architecture there. I even take a picnic and some wine, and have a spectacular view of the city!

Before you go, or when you get there, I recommend that you buy the guide book before entering. This way you can read about what you are seeing as you see it. I think this makes a more enjoyable experience than reading about it after the fact, and maybe not getting to look at certain features or details that you might have otherwise. The gift shop and book store is to your right as you enter the grand courtyard at the Pitti Palace.

Boboli Gardens, Florence ItalyThe land of the Boboli Gardens was part of the estate that Eleanora of Toledo, the wife of Cosimo I acquired in 1550 from the Pitti family. The gardens have had extensive work over the years, and vegetation has been changed and replaced. In the 1840’s the labyrinths were removed to build a pathway for carriages. However, the grounds still reflect the characteristic Italian garden from the original creation.

When you enter the Pitti Palace, you will pass through the Ammannati courtyard. This courtyard has 3 full size walls of the building and on the fourth wall; straight ahead you will see the Artichoke Fountain. Don’t miss the Grotto of Moses located within this courtyard and under the fountain.

Fountain Boboli Gardens at the Palazzo, Florence ItalyAs you make your way up the stairs and into the garden, you will start to get an idea of the views that are waiting for you as you go higher up into the garden. There is a lot of walking and much of it is uphill, so keep that in mind. Fortunately, there are places to sit and stop for a breather along the way, and you will want to do that to enjoy the panoramas, and the art work and statues. Continue to the top and stop at the Forcone Basin while making your way to the Statute of Plenty which was started by Giambologna, and finished my several other artists.

At the top of the hill you can see stunning views of Florence, and the path that you have traveled back to the Pitti Palace. From here you should go right and visit The Knight’s Garden. Here you will find beautiful views of the Italian countryside and the city wall as it makes its way to Porta Romana. Heading down to the Island Pond you will walk the Cypress Lane. It is beautiful itself with the tall cypresses, but the statues make it extra special.

Dwarf Morgante, Boboli Gardens, Florence ItalyIf you go back towards the Palace and explore the garden to the left, you will find the Annalena Grotto. The Grand Grotto, or Buontalenti’s Grotto is almost at the exit, and visits are permitted only upon authorization. I don’t know how you get authorization, but if I find out I will let you know. It is worth investigating, as once when I was in the garden it was opened and I got to go inside. It is worth seeing! Michelangelo’s prisoners once stood in the corners before being moved to the Accadamia, and currently there are copies there. As you exit, don’t miss the infamous statue of Dwarf Morganti, although the statue is fondly called Bacchus. I would plan a minimum of a half day to explore the gardens and more if you want to have a picnic and take some time to relax.

For more information on Florence sites, visit www.anamericaninitaly.com

Karen Mills is an American woman who made the decision to leave her corporate life behind to live “la dolce vita” in Florence, Italy, Read more about her experiences at An American In Italy or contact her at queenkaren0@hotmail.com.

View of Duomo from Boboli Gardens, Florence, ItalyOther articles by

Guest Post By: Karen Mills

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