The Boboli Gardens are the most famous of all gardens in Florence, but there are many other places to experience the greener side of the city.
With its mighty monuments towering over narrow winding streets, you wouldn’t call Florence a “green” place. But you don’t need to look far to find some verdant spaces. In fact, just a few steps from the centre it’s possible to relax, and smell the flowers. Literally.
In the Oltrarno, south of the river, you’ll find Florence’s most scenic and best kept gardens. Once over the Ponte Vecchio or Ponte alle Grazie you enter a land of tree-lined streets and gardens overlooking the city. It’s a land of tranquillity, free from crowds, that offers a welcome respite from the summer heat and an ideal sunset viewpoint. As you’d expect, the gardens are usually at their best in spring.
Boboli Garden – An Italianate garden at its best
Probably the best known of all gardens in Florence, Pitti Palace’s green space Boboli Garden is a vast park of delights. Inside this 45.000 square metre Italianate garden, there is history and statues aplenty. You’ll find a dreamlike atmosphere, mysterious grottos, and plenty of hidden corners to relax. Don’t expect manicured flower beds, but long avenues lined with cypress trees and fountains.
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Price: 7 € – combined ticket for the Silver Museum, Costume Gallery, Porcelain Museum. Entrance from Piazza Pitti, 1.
Gardens in Florence with a view
The Rose Garden is halfway to Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s a short walk uphill to the Rose Garden that obviously saves its best for May. Wander among the roses and the sculptures by contemporary Belgian artist Folon, or just relax on the benches or grass and enjoy the spectacular views over Florence.
Free entrance. Access from Viale Giuseppe Poggi, 2
A fifteen minute steep walk from the Ponte Vecchio, this garden’s panoramic terrace with a spectacular city view make it one of the finest gardens in Florence. In Spring the garden is alive with azaleas and wisteria. There’s a coffee shop and a romantic restaurant “La leggenda dei Frati” where you can have lunch under the loggia. In the Villa Bardini there are exhibitions and events, and on the second floor a small terrace with an even finer view.
Price: 8 € – Entrance from Costa San Giorgio 2 and from Via de’ Bardi 1/red
Cascine – Park with Tuesday market and a swimming pool
This is the largest of Florence’s parks and is situated along the river Arno, on the northern side. Perfect for jogging or cycling, it also has an outdoor swimming pool in the summer and a lively market every Tuesday morning, where you can find some fruit and vegetables, but mainly cheap clothes. Very popular with the locals, and overall it’s a good spot if you need to take a break from the city. Half an hour walk or a short bus ride from city centre.
Florence’s botanical garden – “Giardino dei Semplici”
The Orto Botanico “Giardino dei Semplici” is right in the city centre, near San Marco Square. This botanical garden is today part of the University of Florence. It was born in 16th century as a study place for medical science students of the “medicina simplex” (healing herbs). Today it is perhaps more interesting for scientific than aesthetic reasons. A big collection of plants, but in need of some love and care. A quiet retreat from the crowds.
Entrance 3€ – from Via Micheli, 3