Spring has finally arrived in Florence. On a sunny day, you can venture into the city’s enchanting gardens that sit on the other side of the Arno river. The Bardini and Boboli gardens are not only a short walk from one another, but they are also the perfect place to bring friends or family that are visiting. Be prepared to witness breathtaking views (better than Piazzale Michelangelo, I may add), an abundance of flowers and greens and a relaxing environment. And — don’t forget your walking shoes!
1. Start at The Bardini Gardens
Start by visiting The Bardini Garden, situated between Costa San Giorgio and Borgo San Niccolò. The garden belonged to the Mozzi family from the 13th century. The villa, garden and its surrounding properties were acquired by famous art dealer Stefano Bardini in the early 20th century. For only 10 euros (the cost is free for Florence natives), you can purchase a Bardini ticket, which also comes with entrance into the Boboli gardens. This is a faster option than waiting in line at the Pitti Palace during tourist season.
2. Take a Photo Under The Purple Flowers
The Bardini contains four hectares of woods, gardens and fruit orchards. It’s the perfect serene environment to take a relaxing stroll or stop to read a book. One of my favorite spots in the garden is the whimsical tunnel of purple flowers. This is also popular Instagram photo spot. When you go to the gardens in mid-April/May, the flowers will be in peak bloom.
3. Stop, Have a Coffee and Enjoy the View
After a short climb to the top of the Bardini garden, you are greeted by incredible views of the city of Florence. There is also a small café on top. When my mom and aunt came to visit, we ordered cappuccinos and admired the city’s beauty. During lunch time, the café offers a variety of food and drink options (also, you have to their smoothies!). So, if all that walking made you hungry or thirsty, you don’t have to go back down to the hustle and bustle just yet.
4. Venture to the Boboli Garden
After you’re done exploring the Bardini gardens, follow the signs and make your way to the Boboli gardens. Construction of the Boboli gardens begun when Cosimo de’ Medici and his wife Eleonora bought the Palazzo Pitti in 1549. The Medici family commissioned Niccolo Pericoli to design the garden, which has now extended from Pitti Palace to Porta Romana. The Boboli represents an elegant style Italian garden, composed of beautiful views, picturesque arches and grooves and charming meadows. One of the garden’s main fountains is the fountain of the “Fork” or “Neptune’s fountain.”
5. Find the Yellow Flowers and Enjoy Views of the Tuscan Hills
If you’re able to visit the garden during blooming season, you can witness the beautiful yellow flowers that cover a gate on one of Boboli’s terraces. You can also enjoy gorgeous views of the opposite side of Florence that leads into the Tuscan countryside. A few of the many incredible artists that worked on the creation of the gardens include Vasari, Ammannati, Giambologna and Buontalenti. You can also take a stroll through on the Viottolone promenade — the main boulevard in the Boboli — that is lined with cypress trees and statues.
Monica was a spring 2019 Florence student from George Washington University.