The gardens are expansive and quite steep in places, so be sure to bring appropriate footwear if you want to really explore them
The Boboli Gardens are found in the heart of Florence, behind the Palazzo Pitti, which was formerly the home of the Medici family and is now one of the city’s foremost museums. When first built the gardens were a lavish present from the Medici family, for the Medici family: no one else was allowed in, and no events were ever held there.
The gardens were carefully designed in the 16th century style, imbued with classical elements. Wide gravel avenues lead to statues and fountains nestled in ornate stonework, with spaces inspired by grottos, garden temples and amphitheatres. To walk around them is to take a journey through classical mythology.
Eyes on the Prize
The fountain of Neptune can be found in the hillside above the amphitheatre. Set in a large basin, the central bronze statue of Neptune was created by Stoldo Lorenzi. It depicts a moment from the competition between Athena and Neptune to be the patron of Athens. Neptune struck the ground with his trident, producing a salt spring; Athena, with a touch of her spear, summoned an olive tree from the soil. No prizes for guessing who won.
Far From Grotty
Stone stalactites mark the entrance to the Large Grotto. Don’t be put off by its rather unattractive name: it is exquisite. Inside, the grotto contains three frescoed sections: the first contains replicas of Michaelangelo’s Prisoners, the second holds Paris and Helen by Vincenzo de’ Rossi, and the third contains Giambologna’s Bathing Venus. The latter two were allegedly designed as perfect spots for Duke Francesco I de’ Medici’s amorous trysts.
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