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Springtime in Florence: Boboli Gardens

Springtime in Florence: Boboli Gardens 

Spring in Florence….love is in the air, flowers in bloom. And it makes for a perfect visit to Florence’s famous sixteenth century Italian gardens behind the Pitti Palace…. the Boboli Gardens.

In this episode I take you on a lush journey through a Renaissance natural masterpiece.

 

 

 

Palazzo Pitti

Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens in Florence

Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens in Florence

 

Palazzo Pitti was originally built in mid 1400’s for banker Luca Pitti, big rival of de Medici family, the political and banking dynasty of Florence. A century later, when the building costs bankrupt Pitti’s heirs, the Medici bought it. Talk about adding insult to financial injury.

 Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens, Springtime in Florence

Boboli Gardens, Springtime in Florence 

The gardens were planned in the mid 1500′s for Elenora di Toledo, the wife of Duke Cosimo I de Medici. What we see today is a process of enlargement that has occurred through the centuries.

Centered behind the Palace is the amphitheater, unifying the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. Reminiscent of an ancient hippodrome, or racetrack, the amphitheater was dug out of a large stone quarry at the foot of Belvedere Hill creating the center stage…a stage that is still in use for concerts and plays. The top of the seating area contains 24 niches which hold ancient mythical statues. A glimpse of the ancient world can be seen in the tall Egyptian obelisk brought from the Villa Medici in Rome….and garden sculptures that includes Roman antiquities along with 16th and 17th century pieces can be seen throughout.

Beyond the amphitheater is the fountain of Neptune, where the pagan god is surrounded by tritons.

  Grotta di Buontalenti

Grotta di Buontalenti Boboli Gardens, Springtime in Florence

Before we move further into the gardens, there are a couple of unique things I’d like to show you. To the left of the amphitheater is The Large Grotto, or Grotta di Buontalenti,  named after Bernado Buontalenti who worked on it in the late 1500′s.

In the video we explore this unusual and fascinating cave, its unusual frescoes, drip-like formations, and splendid sculptures. 

Grotta di Buontalenti was also featured in the recent novel by Dan Brown, “Inferno“. If you’ve read Inferno, in the video you can see what this incredible cave looks like!

After you leave the grotto, you will pass by the Bacchus Fountain! The chubby figure was supposed to be Cosimo the I’s court dwarf as Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. He’s here straddling a turtle. He looks like he dabbled into a bit too much vino, no?

Giardino del Cavaliere (Garden of the Knight)

Giardino del Cavaliere Boboli Gardens, Florence

Giardino del Cavaliere Boboli Gardens, Florence

Making your way upward through the gardens, you get the impression that it’s tiered. In the midst of this scenic delight, you’ll find many people sleeping, reading, relaxing…and me, of course, eating!! What a better place for a picnic with a view than at the Boboli Gardens!!

You can spend all day exploring the Boboli Gardens, but I’ll take a moment to smell the roses in  Giardino del Cavaliere, or Garden of the Knight, at the top of the hill in a private enclosure. In spring, especially in May, it’s in bloom with fragrant peonies. Once in a while you hear bees buzzing around, see butterflies flying from one flower to another. It’s a magical place that literally invites you to stop and smell the roses!  And the glorious Tuscan hillside view with the old Fort Belvedere in the background, is absolutely enchanting. You could spend hours here admiring it and being inspired by it. On the other side of this garden terrace you can catch a splendid view of Florence and its famous Dome.  The building on the terrace is a porcelain museum.

You have to purchase a ticket to visit the gardens. Spring hours for April and May are usually from 8:15 AM to 6:30 PM. Check in advance for prices, closing dates, holidays, and changes in schedule during different months.  The view that greets you as you enter is worth the admission fee!! You’ll stroll and wander through the landscaped open air museum and indulge in the fascinating Renaissance lifestyle of the rich and famous of by-gone eras.

Spring, with the fragrant flowers in bloom, lush manicured gardens, and ideal weather, it’s the perfect time to visit Boboli Gardens…a classic paradise, hidden from the street behind a 15th century palace belonging to the most powerful Florentine dynasty.

 

Recommendations for Florence

 Online Ticket Purchases and Websites:

Uffizi Gallery or Accademia Gallery museum tickets online booking:

http://www.florence-museum.com

Boboli Gardens online tickets:

http://www.uffizi.com/boboli-garden-florence.asp

Segway Tours of Florence

 Italy Segway Tours - www.italysegwaytours.com
.
Food Tours of Florence
Food tour of Florence with Judy Witts Francini
If you love food and shopping, Judy will take you on an unforgettable culinary adventure through the San Lorenzo Central Market for an experience you’ll never forget!
http://www.divinacucina.com/

Restaurants and Cafes in Florence

 The place for the perfect Florentine Steak! Recommended by Judy Witts Francini on her Food Tour of Florence
Via Rosina, 4/6 r, 50125 Florence
055 283259

Snackbar Anna

Looking for Bagels and Coffee in Florence? Then this is the place for you!

Via dei Genori 26R

Coccole Cioccolato

Exquisite and decadent hand crafted chocolates made on premises!

Via Ginori, 55/57r

Restaurant in Piazza della Repubblica

Great lunch plates inexpensively priced, beautifully decorated interior.  Indoor and Outdoor table seating.
Piazza della Repubblica, 35
055-210236
.
Although on the expensive side, you can enjoy a drink or snack at its outdoor tables and watch the world go by in Piazza della Repubblica!

Restaurant Near Santa Maria Novella Church

La Dantesca - Il paradiso della pizza
The place for the best wood oven pizza at great prices! Right near Santa Maria Novella church.
Via Panzani, 57 r
Piazza S Maria Novella
055-212287
 
 .Restaurant Near Santa Croce Church
Charming restaurant that serves traditional Italian and Tuscan food recommended by locals
Via Giovanni Da Verrazzano 3/5 r
Angolo Piazza Santa Croce
055-22 60 064

Restaurant near the Duomo

Via Ricasoli 5-7 r
055 292 124
Delicious pizza and meats at reasonable prices considering it’s right next to the Duomo. We ate there many times and food was great each time! Child and pet friendly restaurant.

Excellent Gelato in Florence

Not surprisingly the most famous gelateria in Florence!
Vicolo Calimaruzza, 18 e
P.zza del Mercato Nuovo
  Tel. 055 288505
Gelateria la Carraia
Locals swarm to this Gelateria for good reason: it’s excellent!
Easy to find at the end of Carraia Bridge across the Arno River on the Oltrarno side
.
Vestri
Delicious natural gelato, unique flavors such as chocolate peperoncino (not served in the summer though).
Borgo degli Albizi, 11, 50122 Florence
055 234 0374

Hotels in Florence

Via della Scala, 7, 50123 Florence
Walking distance from the train station, conveniently situated next to Santa Maria Novella Church. Elegantly decorated, cozy rooms, a refreshing pool for hot summer days. Great cafes and restaurants can be found nearby.
 
Via Dè Guicciardini, 13, 50125 Florence
Great location right near Ponte Vecchio across the river on the Oltrarno side, a pleasant stay and charming decor. 
 .

Day Tours to and from Florence

For travelers who are short on time or not up for the physical demands of Do It Yourself travel, having the benefit of a private deluxe vehicle and  apersonal driver at your disposal for the day allows to make the most of  sightseeing possibilities with  no worries of about transportation, and minimizing walking from place to place. For larger groups up to 8 persons it can be an economical and convenient way to tour and sightsee in comfort.

Day tours from Livorno and Florence into Tuscany and Chianti regions in your private A/C vehicle and personal tour driver. Perfect for wine tasting through Chianti and not worry about driving afterwards!
Chianti Tours - www.chiantitours.com
 .

Day tours to Florence from Rome and Livorno Cruise Port in your own private A/C vehicle and personal English speaking tour driver for a fun filled leisurely day.
Stefano Rome Tours - www.stefanorometours.com
 
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