One of the most popular and well-known attractions sitting on the other side of the Arno River in Florence is the Boboli Gardens – the picturesque answer to some of the greatest gardens in the world. Perhaps only second to Versailles in Europe, the Boboli is an on-going testament to the history of the Medici family and its influence on Florentines.
The gardens are connected to the Pitti Palace. Originally designed and owned by the banking Pitti family, it was purchased by the Medici after it was finished. The gardens were extremely private and used only for the personal use of the Medici family and friends, so it’s a treat to be able to see them today in their beauty.
At the Boboli Gardens, the rose garden stays in full bloom for most of the year — Photo courtesy of Alex Schnee
Extending beyond the exterior of the palace, the gardens represent a unique and covetable space in Florence that almost no one but the Medici could afford; the amount of space used was difficult to find in the city! Several notable people helped lay out the garden design, but probably most significantly the artist and biographer Giorgio Vasari.
The gardens incorporate impressive statues and a variety of plants that are almost impossible to find anywhere else in Tuscany. A highly prized Egyptian obelisk also stands within the center, which was brought from the Medici Villa in Rome.
There is no natural water source to the gardens, which makes them architecturally interesting. A design allowing an irrigation system had to be implemented so the River Arno could work as a source of water to keep the gardens in full bloom throughout the majority of the year.
Pitti Palace in Florence — Photo courtesy of Ed Webster
One of the best things about purchasing a ticket to the gardens is that you also have access to several other attractions, as well. Entrance to a silver museum, costume gallery and a porcelain museum are all included within the ticket price. Whether you choose to buy the full ticket to the Pitti Palace or just for the gardens and the additional exhibits, you'll have plenty to see and enjoy.
Prices fluctuate throughout the year, depending on what season it is. You may want to admire this green space in the spring and perhaps early summer, before the grounds become too crowded.
During the summer, you will have to pay the full price of €10 and deal with groups of tourists. The winter and spring months are less pleasant, but you pay €7 instead, and you can get a reduced rate of €3,50 if you're a student.
Also, if you purchase a Firenzecard for €72, you have 72 hours to see all the major sites of the city – including the Boboli Gardens – and transportation on the bus and tram are free.
You can't beat the view from the vineyard! — Photo courtesy of Alex Schnee