Valentina's 5 favourite gardens in Florence
First things first
When I was at university studing History of Art, the courses and the following exams on the History of the Medici gardens were the easiest I had to take. Not because the load of study was less heavy than other history courses, but surely my passionate attitute towards the matter and the requirement of wandering through these gardens as exam preparation made the study very enjoyable.
In this post I am reaching out to all garden lovers in hope that they will come to Florence to discover the greenery pleasures of the city. Although you can find on my website the tours I offer in three of the main “giardini” in and around Florence, here you will get a first taste of what you could discover with me in other five gardens.
Well aware that when people think of Florence, garden is not the first word that comes to mind I also wish to promote the less known places together with the main attractions for gardens aficionados. And last but not least most of these gardens have all free entrance.
Garden of the Irisis
The Giardino degli Iris is the best kept secret of Piazzale Michelangelo. Eveyone goes to Michelangelo square and its panoramic terrance on top of the hill to look at the city skyline and take pictures, but few know where to escape the crowds. In people’s defence this garden is open only for a brief period of time, during the blooming season of the flowers (this year from April, 25th to May, 20th 2018). So my first tip is to check the opening days and hours. The garden, with the collection of the garden has more than 100 species of irises, is today managed by the Italian Society of the Iris. It was created in 1957 by two ladies belonging to the Italian Association of Friends of Flowers who were also enthusiastic hybridizers.
Garden of the Roses
The Giardino delle Rose happens to be on the same hill of the Piazzale Michelangelo, so you can kill two birds with one stone. But the best part is that the Garden of the Roses is open all year round. The reason to visit even when roses are not at their peak is the collection of scultures by Jean-Michel Folon, the artist from Belgium who fell in love with Florence to the point of donating 10 works of art. Among them the Intagram-good work entitled Partir (To leave), the silhouette in the shape of a luggage framing the view of Palazzo Vecchio.
The garden of the Palazzo Corsini al Prato is still a private property of the Florentine aristocratic family Corsini. Do not despair, in May the Corsini organize Artigianato e Palazzo, the event that bring artisans to the garden (full ticket: 8, 00 euro; reduced ticket 6,00 euro). Even though this artisans fair is not free, it’s a great way to spend a day surrouned by lemons tress and baroque statues. You can ejoy the sun while strolling between some stands that sell gelato, cannoli and others that display the hand-made works of specialized artisans.
Garden of Villa Castello
Villa Castello is where the famous paintings by Botticelli, the Primavera and the Birth of Venus, are first mentioned in Vasari’s book, the Lives of the Artists, as part of the Medici collections. The Grand Duke Cosimo de’ Medici hired his garden designer Niccolò Tribolo to create one of the best examples of Renassaince garden. With its terracing of the citrus garden and the grotto of the animals, Castello is as delightful today as it must have been during the Medici time.
Garden of Villa La Petraia
Not a single visitor of Villa La Petraia has remained insensitive to the charming beuaty of the garden. The fountain of Fiorenza is the centre of a spiral of tulips in spring as if the slim body of the statue was bringing together the entire sybolism of Florence like the city of flourishing spring. Away from the basins for the fishes beyond the terrace between the centenary trees you can see in the distance Brunelleschi’s dome. What more do you want?
Welcome again on my blog!
Welcome to Valentina's Florence Blog.
Here you will find posts and articles about my city, about the things I enjoy and recommend, about places and museums still to be discovered. I am writing with the sincere hope that everybody will find some uselful tips to make the most of their time in Tuscany, to be inspired to have me take them around the less traveled paths, or to stay in touch with Florence and me.