Breakaway from busy museums and enjoy a bit of fresh air, greenery, and art under the wide blue Florentine sky. The lush Boboli Gardens hiding behind the equally luxurious Pitti Palace are ready to win over your heart.
The spark of the idea of Boboli Gardens reaches all the way to 1418 when Luca Pitti bought a piece of land determined to build a magnificent palace. He did so to spite the rich Medici family but, ironically, Medicis ended up buying the property after Pitti family suffered a severe economic blow.
It was the Medici family who commissioned Niccolò Tribolo to design and build these superb gardens. However, after the architect's untimely death, they hired Bartolomeo Ammannati to complete the job. The main garden axis branches out to avenues, hedges, and terraces. Every inch impresses you with imposing statues, fountains, and sculptures which make Boboli a true open-air museum.
Besides all that, scattered throughout the park are a few extraordinary buildings you shouldn’t miss. One of them is the Anfiteatro which came into existence in 1637. Originally, it contained the Fountain of the Ocean. Nonetheless, in the 17th century, the architects moved the fountain to the south-west area of the garden to allow for theatrical performances. Another significant building worthy of your attention is the Kaffeehaus (rococo pavilion) that offers stunning views of Florence as well as the Fountain of Ganymede (Fontana di Ganymede). Scenic panorama of Florentine countryside also unfolds in front of you in the equally interesting Museo delle Porcellane.
Do not miss out on the garden’s two peculiar grottos (caves). One, the Grotto of Madama (Grotta di Madama) of Tribulus design, is richly decorated with sculptures and stalactites. The other one, Grotta del Buontalenti, the architect of the same name encrusted with shells and gems. It was built by an architect of the same name between 1583-1593 for Francesco I of Medici family.
Just recently, in spring of 2017, Florence's homegrown fashion brand - Gucci - dedicated two million euros to the restoration of the gardens and all its treasures to their former glory untouched by time.
It’s a perfect place to relax and let go. Take a few hours to stroll around and appreciate the art as it seamlessly blends in with nature around. On a Sunday afternoon, you might even find yourself in the company of locals who also don’t say no to a walk in this indulgent masterpiece.