The Boboli Gardens are a green and spacious park that covers an area of about 45 dunams. This is one of the most peaceful and beautiful sites in Florence, decorated with sculptures, benches, terraces, walking paths, and spectacular views. Since 2013, the Boboli Gardens have been considered one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. This is due to their being one of the most beautiful and meaningful examples of Italian Renaissance art.
Regarding the origin of the name Boboli, there are two main theories. One holds that it is a shortening and distortion of the name Borgolo, after the famous family that owned the area in the past. According to the second theory, Boboli was the name they used to call Via Romana in the Middle Ages, the place where the gardens are today.
A little about the history of the place – the Boboli Gardens were established in the middle of the 16th century, behind Palazzo Pitti, close to the city gate, as a green courtyard of the magnificent palace. Over the years, the gardens underwent several innovations and renovation works that brought them to the impressive and pastoral look they today. The construction project began under the direction of a member of the famous local aristocratic family – Cosimo I of the Medici family. Cosimo wanted to give his young wife, Eleanor nee Toledo, a gift that resembled heaven. The actual planning and construction were done by the architect Niccolò Pericoli, also called “il Tribolo.” After the completion of the structure of the gardens, great Italian craftsmen worked on their decoration. Among them, names Vasari, Ammannati, Giambologna, and Buontalenti can be mentioned.
What to see – The park has several entrances, the main one is via Pitti Palace, and there are three others: one is from Belvedere Fortress, the second is from Porta Romana, and the third is via Via Romana (Annalena entrance). You can purchase a map of the gardens in the nearby shops, divided into regions and points of interest. The first part of the park, from the main entrance, stands out thanks to the impressive Belvedere fortress that stands in it, a theater, and the water fountain of Neptune. In the eastern part of the park, you can see the elegant Kaffeehaus, an impressive architectural building from the 18th century, designed in the Rococo style standard in the Tuscany region. After crossing the statue with the image of Neptune, you can see the Giardino del Cavaliere and the Casino del Cavaliere, where the porcelain museum is also located.
The second part of the park is crossed by Cyprus road – Viottolone. It is a long and wide wooded boulevard that goes down to the end of the park (Porta Romana entrance). During the walk on the path, you will see the Vasca dell’Isola – a beautiful artificial lake with an island in the center. When you continue on the road and approach the Porta Romana, you will find the Prato delle Colonne (in free translation – the field of the columns). At the end of the boulevard, you can find two exciting buildings: la Limonaia (the lemon house) and Palazzina della Meridiana (the meridian house), where the costume museum – Galleria del Costume, is also located.
Tickets – the entry ticket to the gardens is combined with entry to the Porcelain Museum and the Bardini Gardens. The price of a regular ticket is 7 euros. A discounted ticket for 3.5 euros for students and senior citizens (over 65). Note that sometimes exhibitions are held in the park, and then the prices of the tickets go up (10 euros for a regular ticket and 5 euros for a discounted ticket). You can find out about the events on the venue’s website.
Opening times – the gardens are open to visitors throughout the week, during daylight hours. From November to February at 8:15-16:30. In March 8:15-17:30. April-May and September-October 8:15-18:30. June to August 8:15-19:30. Please note – the place is closed every first and last Monday of every month as well as on holidays – on January 1, May 1 and December 25.
How to get there – the area can be reached by city bus (ATAF) – lines 11, D from the central train station in the city. If you arrive by car, note that the traffic jams in the area are terrible and it is also challenging to find parking nearby. The nearest parking lot is next to Porta Romana.