Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giardino di Boboli

The Boboli Gardens are located behind Pitti Palace.  This beautiful ginormous garden was basically the backyard of the Medici Family.  It's good to be the king grand duke!

View of Pitti Palace from Boboli
The gardens were created in the mid-16th century for Eleonora di Toledo, who was the wife of Cosimo I de' Medici.  They were enlarged a century later and remain today a respectable 11 acres.

Main walkway through the gardens
More of an outdoor museum, Boboli is filled with sculptures, fountains and a huge variety of plants.  A large section of the gardens is wooded, with trails that you can explore (sometimes with complete privacy).

One of the more "private" trails
At the far end of the gardens is a pool with an isolotto where a fountain sculpture of Neptune, created by Stoldo Lorenzi, resides.  It was here, on a bench near the pool, that we stopped and ate yogurt that Simone had packed for us as a morning snack.  It is a lovely view and very peaceful.

Neptune's fountain
One can, and should, take hours to wander around these gorgeous gardens.  There is something to see at every turn.  For example, we walked along a fairly secluded path and found ourselves next to an odd little fountain (see below).

I know, it doesn't seem odd from this picture, but...

...the water ran all the way down the hill in the groove on the wall!

 On the grounds, there is a small building used as a museum, which displays the various plates, dishes and other table service that the Grand Dukes used in the palace over the centuries.  To get to this little museum, you climb steps to an elevated garden area (see below).

Once you reach the top, you are rewarded with spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside.

As you walk back down toward Pitti Palace, you will see another pool of water with another statue of Neptune.  It was here that we stopped, like so many others, and took a rest on the vast grassy area.  We spread out Simone's jacket, stretched out in the sun, and took a little nap.  I know it sounds crazy to folks in the US, but there, it seems, everyone does it...and no one bothers you or steals your stuff!  (I wouldn't suggest doing this in a public park, however.  Boboli is controlled.)

The view I woke up to after my nap
After you pass by this area, you'll enter the amphitheater.  It is surrounded by statues, and in the center, there is a large obelisk from Egypt that had been brought to Rome in 30 BC (it was transported to Pitti in 1790).  Something that I thought was really cool about the obelisk was that it sits atop 4 turtles!

See the little turtles?
As you round the corner of Pitti Palace, you'll come across the Grotta di Buontalenti.  This interesting grotto contains sculpture and frescos. 

Buontalenti's Grotto
There is so much to see at Boboli.  If you visit Florence, be sure to take several hours to meander through the gardens.  A ticket will cost you 6 euro,  but you will be granted access to the Boboli Garden, Bardini Garden, the Silver Museum, the Porcelain Museum and the Gallery of Costume.  Quite the bargain!


  1. Great article. Again great pix. Very cool water system. Cool turtles under the monolith and the maps in the sun sound like something we should implement in the US.

  2. Hi, I am interested in using your photo of the Grotta di Buontalenti in a upcoming architecture book. Would this image be available for use? is there someway to contact you via email?

    Kind regards,

    Johnny Long

    1. Thanks for your interest, Johnny!
      You can find me at alinder.rn (at) gmail (dot) com.