History Lessons: Boboli Gardens in Florence

Boboli Gardens
So you’ve been trawling the streets of Florence, visiting all of the required places to go to. You’ve seen an almighty load of Italian sculptures and paintings, you’ve been amazed by the architecture, the little corridors, the style and atmos. You’ve eaten some Bistecca or Trippa for lunch and you need to escape. You need to try something different. You need to relax. Boboli gardens is waiting for you, my friend.
The Boboli Gardens are technically an outdoor museum, so it will cost you a little out of your budget to enter. The visits usually take around 2 to 3 hours if you are there to see everything, but you’re not on a time-limit, so calm it.


As for the history of this place, Niccolo Tribolo drew the first plans of the Gardens in the mid-16th century before his death in 1550. Afterwards, many different creatives improved upon the aesthetics of the Boboli Gardens with the Medici and Lorraine families taking it into the 19th century, culminating into its current size and grandiosity.


Because of this long process, the gardens can be divided into 5 different main areas, each with their own attractions and things to see. First of all, you will encounter the Amphitheatre, whereby the Grotta Grande, Viottolone, Garden of the Cavaliere, and the Koffeehouse afterwards also make up the whole of the Boboli Gardens.
The Amphitheatre is an incredibly large area within the Gardens, and consists of two grottos – the small frescoed “grotto of grandma” and the large grotto each containing sculptures of Vincenzo de Rossi. The Viottolone, which is a huge corridor – with comparative corridors running adjacent to it –, is a perfect space for introspection. You truly feel alone in this space, in every positive sense of the word.
The Grotta Grande is the cherry on the cake to this area of the Gardens. It is the home of Giambologna’s Bathing Venus and was a favourite discrete spot of Francesco I de’ Medici. The Cavaliere, which you will bump into after the Grotta Grande is an area with a great view of the manor houses, the walls of which were built by Michelangelo in 1529.
On top of these highlights, the Lorraine family added the Kaffeehaus after the Medici’s in the 18th century. You cannot purchase coffee there unfortunately, but the place is quite an aesthetic pleasure on the eyes, and compliments the Florentine skyline in the distance.
If you exit via Palazzo Pitti, look out for the unusual sculpture of Morgante. A rather sizable fellow riding a turtle. A nice touch to end a tranquil afternoon. Now, out into the city you go once again.