The Giardino di Boboli (“Boboli Garden“) in Florence is one of the most famous gardens in the world. It is a Renaissance garden and is located behind the Palazzo Pitti. The garden is adorned with numerous statues, fountains, caves and all kinds of other buildings and structures.
Boboli Garden Florence
Address, opening hours and admission
The address of the Giardino di Boboli is Piazza de Pitti, 1 – 50125 Florence. Telephone: +39 0552388791. Opening hours: From November to February: 08:15 to 16:30; March and October: 8:15 to 17:30; April, May and September: 08:15 to 18:30; June and August: 8:15 to 19:30. Entrance fee: 7 Euro. EU residents under 18 years of age and over 65 years of age: free of charge.
History Boboli-Gardens Florence
The Giardino Boboli was one of the very first Renaissance gardens. It was built between 1549 and 1656. The designer was Niccolò Pericoli, nicknamed Tribolo. He had already laid out other gardens for the Medici.
The actual work was not carried out by Tribolo. In any case, more and more complex additions and renovations would take place over the years.
The garden is characterized by hedges in geometric patterns, flowerbeds with palms and rows of cypress trees. Large numbers of statues are scattered throughout the garden.
At the entrance to the courtyard of Palazzo Pitti is an elongated amphitheatre modeled on the Roman circuses. Here you will find a granite basin from the thermal Baths of Caracalla in Rome and an Egyptian obelisk dedicated to Ramses II. The obelisk is also from Rome and stood at the Temple of Serapis.
In 1589, during the wedding festivities for Ferdinando de’ Medici and Christine of Lorraine, the very first opera ever was performed here. It was called Dafne and was composed by Jacopo Peri and Ottavio Rinuccini.
In 1766 the park was opened to the Florentine public.
Boboli Garden Highlights
The central point of the garden is the Neptune Fountain. It is here that the two avenues that cross the park come together. The basin in which the fountain stands was built around 1778. The central statue of Neptune was made by Stoldo Lorenzi in 1571. The gardens are supplied with water from this basin.
The Kaffehaus was built in the rococo style.
On the south side of the park there is a pond with a central island (the “Isolotto”) on which Giambologna‘s sculpture “L’Oceano” can be seen.
On the north side, some fake caves have been created. These are filled with sculptures in order to make them look like sacred caves. The Grotta Grande is the most famous of these and was designed in the 2nd half of the 16th century by Giorgio Vasari, Bartolomeo Ammannati, and Bernardo Buontalenti. The stalactites are not real and also the unfinished sculptures of Michelangelo‘s famous “Slavs” are replicas. (The originals are in the Galleria dell’Accademia).
The Fontana di Bacco (“Fountain of Bacchus”) is close to the exit. The court jester of Cosimo I, Pietro Barbino, was the model for the dwarf on his turtle.
The enormous granite shell probably originally stood in the Roman Terme Alessandrine.
Giardino del Cavaliere
From the Giardino del Cavaliere one has a beautiful view over the suburbs of the city. This “Garden of the Knight” is located at the highest point of the Boboli Garden and is surrounded by a wall of hedges.