Visiting Florence can be overwhelming sometimes with hordes of tourists queuing to the museums and churches, looking at palaces, exploring shops, enjoying the fine dining that the city has to offer. However, don’t forget one of the Florence attractions: the city’s beautiful gardens where you can escape from the busy streets and chill out among the lush greenery.
The classic Italian style Boboli Garden, behind the Pitti Palace, is one of the first gardens in Florence laid out in the 16th century for the Medici family. It spreads over 111 acres and is more than just a collection of plants and trees. It is more of an outdoor museum with Roman antiquities as well as 16th and 17th century garden sculptures. Walking among fountains, grottoes, meadows, you might forget that you are in the middle of a big city. You need about three hours to see everything including the lovely Porcelain museum located in the garden. Make sure you climb up to the Forte di Belvedere to admire the stunning view over the city.
The Corsini garden within the walls of Palazzo Corsini are a real hidden gem right in the historic center of Florence. You are guaranteed to find a quiet corner to share with a few birds and, perhaps, a turtle. There are one hundred of these melancholic reptiles roaming free in the garden among citrus trees, roses and 17th century statues.
Il Giardino del’Iris, the Iris garden, is only open one month every year. Every May thousands of people from all over the world come here to over 2000 varieties of iris in bloom. The flower (Florentines call it “giglio” which means “lily”) has been the symbol of Florence for many centuries and is featured in the city’s coat of arms. The entrance to the garden is free.
Another Florence’s best-kept secret is the Rose garden in the Oltrarno area below piazzale Michelangelo. It opened to the public in 1895 and today houses almost 400 rose varieties, some of them are centuries old. The garden is a spectacular riot of colors in May-June when the roses are in bloom. With beautiful views over the city, it is a paradise for photographers.
Photos by: Andreina Schoeberlein, Artigianato e Palazzo, Hans Baas.