The gardens of Florence are among the city’s finest gems—not only because of their beauty, but because of their tranquillity. With all of Florence’s art, food and wine, many people forget to check out the city’s gorgeous, and historic, gardens. So go off the beaten path, pack a light lunch (and a blanket)… and head off to smell the roses!
Remember, too, that the gardens in Florence are particularly perfect for cooling off in the warmer months (and a charming spot for walks during cooler times).
Here are four of our favorite gardens in Florence. Don’t forget your camera!
Even the word Boboli exudes a bit of playfulness and intrigue! The Boboli Gardens—Giardini di Boboli—make up the most famous garden in Florence, and you quickly see why.
The gardens are basically the backyard of the Pitti Palace, a private area for Cosimo I de’ Medici and his wife Eleonora di Toledo in the 16th Century.
As years passed, the Medici and Lorriane families expanded their inventory of sculptures dating from the 16th and 18th centuries, building an outdoor museum boasting some of the best views of their beloved city.
Today, some of the main highlights set amidst the 11 acres include the Porcelain Museum, Neptune’s Fountain, the Viottolone cypress alley, Buontalenti’s Grotto, Cypress Lane, Isolotto’s basin and the amphitheatre.
The Boboli Garden design was an inspiration for many gardens in Europe, like Versailles.
Visit Polo Museale’s site for details on hours and tickets.
Just below the Boboli Gardens lie the stunning Bardini Gardens, which have quite a history! In the 1700s, Giulio Mozzi enriched the 4-hectare property with walls and fountains. After passing through the hands of many other owners, Stefano Bardini, the famous antique dealer, purchased the land in 1913. He added on other renovations, like paths through the gardens.
Highlights include walking through the tunnel of wisteria, the Baroque stairs, six fountains with mosaic treatments and Villa Bardini. It sits just over the Arno River—giving you some of the best up close views of downtown—on Via dei Bardi 1R.
After a major restoration that began in 2000, the garden reopened to the public in 2009. Entrance is included in your ticket to Boboli, so visit both the same day!
The Rose Garden—Giardino delle Rose—is another treasure in the Oltrarno neighborhood of Florence.
The City of Florence commissioned Giuseppe Poggi to design the Rose Garden on 2.5 acres back in 1865. Poggi’s inspiration stemmed (pun intended!) from French gardens, giving it a more natural and rustic feeling.
Be on the lookout for more than 350 types of roses and even the Japanese Shorai Oasis, which was gifted to Florence from Kyoto, its twin city.
Another unique attribute is the donated art collection of the French artist Jean Michel Folon. The collection was donated by Folon’s wife after his death to ensure that he was always tied to Florence. There are 10 bronze (outside) and 2 plaster sculptures (in the greenhouse) on permanent display.
The views are lush—in season, May being the best time—with a direct panorama over Florence and the Duomo. It is a public garden, so entrance is free every day from 9am until sunset. It’s located at Viale Giuseppe Poggi 2.
The Stibbert Museum, or Museo Stibbert, is better known for its 57 rooms filled with over 50,000 relics (armoury, antiques, costumes, paintings, tapestries, glasses, and so on) of the late Frederick Stibbert from the 1800s. He inherited enough money in his early twenties that he never had to work; his work, instead, became a labor of love dedicated to turning his expanding villa into a museum for Florence—and the landscape into a serene English-style garden. Today, you will find rare plants, a Greek temple, an Egyptian temple, a pond, a “lemon house” and more!
The exotic, lush garden around the museum is free and open during set hours throughout the year. The Stibbert Garden is a rare treat since it is out of the city center on Via Federigo Stibbert 26.
Which garden would you choose? Let us know in the comments!