One might say the Botanical Garden of Florence, also referred to as Giardino dei Semplici, is not the most impressive of all in terms of greenery lay-out and artistic patrimony. Yet, the significance of this garden resides in its reputation of the third oldest university botanical garden in the world, only after the one in Padua and the one in Pisa. Built in 1545 and developed under the patronage of the Medici family, the Botanical Garden of Florence was intended for the cultivation and study of the medicinal plants, otherwise called simple plants (hence the surname of Giardino dei Semplici).

The botanist Luca Ghini was the first commissioned to design the garden and to populate it with medicinal plant, and his work was thoroughly continued by Giuseppe Casabona, Paolo Boccone, Pier Antonio Micheli, Giovanni Targioni Tozzeti and Saverio Manetti, Teodoro Caruel. Under the direct supervision of these personalities, the names of whom, indeed, call forth great admiration from the part of studied naturalists, and upon the decisions of various members of the Medici family, the Botanical Garden of Florence passed under the authority and management of the Florentine Botanical Society (Societa Botanica Fiorentina), the first European botanical academy, in 1718, of the Academy of Georgofilli, in 1783, and than of the Botanical Institute, in 1880.

As one might easily imagine, the garden was enriched with further species of plants, other than medicinal plants, with greenhouses (among the largest in the entire Italy), changed its lay-out and was generally improved such as to enable the study on botany and related sciences: medicine, pharmacy and so on. The chiefdom of this garden in the study of such sciences can not be overemphasized, though the Botanical Garden of Pisa and the one in Padua clearly bettered the Giardino dei Semplici in Florence in this respect. The species of plants in Giardino dei Semplici range from conifers to orchids, ferns, azaleas, cactuses and carnivorous plants amounting to some several thousands of specimens. A genuine thrill ride for those with a keen interest in the vegetable kingdom, this is what the Botanical Garden of Florence offers to its visitors.

Giardino dei Semplici
3 Via Micheli, Florence
Telephone number:
0039 (0)55 275 7402
0039 (0)55 275 7438