If you’re visiting Florence, then you absolutely must make an effort to head to the Boboli gardens, they are well worth a look. These gardens are right up there with the best of them. If you’ve got the fast train from Rome to Florence, then you should definitely make your way to the gardens to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and enjoy the views. So, if the Boboli Gardens are on your agenda, take a second to read through this little guide and get the lay of the land with the what, where and when.
Located behind Pitti Palace, the Boboli gardens were originally built for Duchess Eleonora of Toledo. They were first conceived in 1549 by Niccolo Pericoli, otherwise known as Tribolo. However, after his death, the completion of the gardens was overseen by Bartolomeo Ammannati. He didn’t go it alone though and welcomed contributions from Giorgio Vasari who designed the garden’s famous Grottos and Bernardo Buontalenti who sorted out its beautiful sculptures. Amazingly, the Boboli Gardens have no natural water source meaning that a special conduit that redirects water from the River Arno had to be specially designed. This water is then fed into an elaborate irrigation system.
What are they?
The Boboli Gardens were created to function as an oasis in the city. They are a beautiful Eden of lush greens where you can stroll down twisted lanes and take refuge from the hot florentine summers in the shade of trees. The centerpiece of the gardens is Vasari’s Grottos. This is an artificial cave that has been decorated with stalactites, stalagmites, sponges, shells, and rocks.
How do I get there?
The best way to to get to the Boboli Gardens is by bus as the area is very well serviced by them. There are two stops along the Via Romana. The Piazza San Felice and Romana. Both are serviced by the Number 11 bus. From here you are, but a short walk away from the garden’s main entrance at Pitti Palace.
Alternatively, there are also the C3 and D buses which both have stops at Pitti and Santo Spirito. Again, these are located a very short work from Pitti Palace and the main entrance.
In total, the Boboli Gardens have four entrances, and at each one, you can find a ticket office. You can find the main entrance at Pitti Palace and the other three at Forte Belvedere, Via Romana 27/A, and Porta Romana.
When should I go?
I would recommend heading to the Boboli Gardens when you have had enough of standing around in stuffy museums. The gardens offer a fantastic “green break” from the city too. One of the best parts is that because it's such a large, open, green area you don’t get bogged down in crowds. In short, you’re guaranteed to find a beautiful corner to relax in.