Tourists might sometimes find themselves cornered by the overwhelming offer of objectives and attractions put forward by Florence, which is why alternating the sightseeing sprees with well deserved relaxing moments is an inspired way of conceiving one’s stay in Florence. Thus, more than 25 public and private parks and gardens yield an incredible source of intermissions, combining the inviting oasis-like greenery spots with the artistic mastery so characteristic, in fact, of most of the tourist hotspots of Florence. Indeed, plenty of the parks and gardens in the capital of Tuscany are, again, a heritage handed down to Florence by various historic families or personalities who have left their mark on the city, such as, but not exclusively, the Medici family. The following are but a taste of what Florence comes down to in terms of parks and gardens.

Giardino di Boboli

The Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli) are the largest park in Florence, stretching on 4.5 hectares of hilly topography, and it is to the Medici family that nowadays Florence owes this spectacular alliance between the benefits of nature and the utmost artful contribution of man. Indeed, it is in mid 16th century that the Medici bought the Palazzo Pitti and the adjoining Boboli Gardens from their former owners, commissioning a series of Renaissance and Mannerist artists to design the lay-out and of the park and to populate it with works of art, but only two centuries after this moment the Boboli Gardens were opened to the public. Some of the most resonant names to share in to the arrangement and embellishment of the park are: Niccolo Pericoli (dubbed Tribolo), Bartolomeo Ammannati, Vasari, Bernardo Buontalenti, Michelangelo, Giambologna, for instance.

The park is pegged out by certain highlights one should always try to tick off in view of enriching their relaxing moments. Thus, strolling on the intricate vistas and alleys of the parks, tourists should be able to spot the Fountain of Bacchus, the Fountain of the Ocean and the Fountain of Neptune, three of the most spectacular monument of this kind in the Boboli Gardens. Tourists should keep in mind that most of the statues overtopping the said fountains are replaced by replicas, which holds true with respect to the entire sculptural patrimony of the garden. Other two major highlights are represented by the Grotto of Madama and the Large Grotto, conceived by Vasari, though Ammannati and Buontalenti too have contributed to their completion. However, Michelangelo, Giambologna and Vicenzo de Rossi must also be cited in this respect since their works (the Prisoners, Bathing Venus and Paris and Helen, respectively) used to decorate the Large Grotto, before being replaced, in part, with copies.

The Grotto of Vulcan is also a nice artistic display, but the Large Grotto remains, by far, the most spectacular of all grottos in the Boboli Gardens. Furthermore, once in this park, one should turn the visitation of the Amphitheatre into an imperative objective, with its imposing Egyptian Obelisk, as well as the Palazzina Meridiana, the Porcelain Museum and the adjoining Cavalier’s Garden (Giardino del Cavaliere). Finally, tourists should strain not to miss a visit to the famed Kaffeehaus, the terraces of which offer stunning views on Florence. The Boboli Gardens are said to have influenced the design of other similar venues in Europe, such as the Gardens of the Versailles Palace.

Name:
Giardino di Boboli
Address:
Piazza Pitti, Florence
Telephone number:
0039 (0)55 238 8786
Fax:
0039 (0)55 229 8732
Website:
www.polomuseale.firenze.it

Piazza Pitti, Florence

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