The most beautiful gardens in Florence
In the City of Flowers, discovering the green oasis less known, but absolutely to visit
Looked at from above, Florence is a maze of narrow streets, pietra serena buildings and terracotta tiles, enclosed by a ring of hills. But if we could see beyond the Renaissance facades and tall walls surrounding the properties, we would find that appearances are deceptive, and the city is a chequerboard of gardens hidden behind buildings or on the sides of the hills where, especially in the Oltrarno district, the city has slowly expanded outwards. Indeed, with the exception of the famous Boboli Gardens, one has to be well-informed to access these lesser-known spaces, where the gardening culture is the fruit of the Medici’s taste for terracotta vases planted with rare species of flowers and citrus fruits. Visit them in May, when they are in full flower, and be captivated by the colours, harmony and meticulous care for these special places in the City of Flowers.
The Rose Garden (viale Giuseppe Poggi, 2) below Piazzale Michelangelo, is a place of extraordinary beauty, rarely visited by tourists, with 400 varieties of roses. It is open all year round (except for Christmas and New Year), from 9.00am to sunset.
The nearby Iris Garden (viale Michelangelo, 82 and viale Giuseppe Poggi, 3c), open only from 2 to 20 May, from 10.00am to 6.00pm, is given over entirely to the flower that is the symbol of Florence, and here grows on grassy slopes among olive trees, seemingly light years away from the city.
Another unmissable Oltrarno address is the Bardini Garden (from via de’ Bardi 1r or Costa San Giorgio 2) with its majestic baroque staircase and spectacular wisteria tunnel that flowers in spring. Open year round from 8.15am to 6.30pm (closed on first and last Monday of the month), entrance is Euro 8.00.
In the southernmost part of Oltrarno, the 7 hectare Torrigiani Garden is Europe’s largest private garden within city boundaries, and was already renowned as a Botanical Garden in the 16th century. Tours of the garden and nursery are available by appointment only (via dei Serragli 144), while the Serre Torrigiani bistro (via di Gusciana, 21) is open to all.
On the right bank of the river, or “di qua d’Arno” as Florentines say, is the historic Palazzo Corsini al Prato (via della Scala, 115), which is still the home of the original family, surrounded by the magnificent Corsini Garden, the setting for exclusive events such as Artigianato e Palazzo, held this year from 26 May to 6 June.
Finally, Giardino dell’Orticoltura (via Vittorio Emanuele II, 4) close to the boulevards, welcomes visitors with its splendid Liberty-style greenhouse, the Tepidarium del Roster, in an atmospheric blend of history, art and a pinch of exotic fantasy.