The entrance of the gardens is in the palace’s piazza. Walking across the piazza you see a large fountain. Past the fountain you begin to scale steps and then you find yourself back in time. You have been transported to a 16th-century Italian garden.
Your introduction to the garden takes place from the foot of the Pitti Palace. The palace was the main seat of the Medici grand dukes of Tuscany. The Medici dynasty began in 1169 and ended in 1737. The family – which went on to produce three popes and two queens – began as Tuscan farmers and made their way into banking. Eventually they owned Europe’s largest bank in the 1400s. This ownership enabled the Medicis to have control beyond the financial world. With their wealth they influenced politics, art, and European culture.
As you ascend the slope of Boboli gardens, you see both more of the gardens and more of Florence. A beautiful view of the city expands further with each step you take. You have no choice but to get to the top of the hill. Once there, you find yourself on top of the park, looking out over the countryside of Tuscany. While we were there, there was a porcelain exhibit going on in the gallery at the top of the park.
After you leave the top it’s time to explore the rest of the gardens. You weave and wind back down the hills via strolling under pergolas, walking on wide gravel avenues, or getting lost in the labyrinth of trails along the perimeter. You will see statues tucked in ivy, fountains and grottos. Since there was no natural water source, a complex and extensive irrigation system was put into place. This pulled water from the nearby Arno river.
Just when you think you have seen the most beautiful and ornate 16th century garden statue, you turn another corner and you see something else to gape at. We got lost for three hours in Boboli.
The big difference between your transportation back in time is now this garden is a public garden. The garden was laid out for Eleonora di Toledo, the wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici. Historically, no access was allowed to anyone outside the immediate Medici family. How lucky we are that the rules have changed and yet this garden remains the same.