Florence: Boboli Gardens

Situated behind the Palazzo Pitti, you'll find the Boboli Gardens. As you would expect from the former residence of the Medici family, who were the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, it's rather splendid.

You'll hear the name Medici a lot in Florence. Founders of the Medici Bank, the family had extreme political power but were also sponsors of art and architecture which, funnily enough, is why Florence is so renowned for all of its art and architecture.

Whilst the Boboli Gardens may not contain as much art as the Palazzo Pitti does, the gardens are still extensive and filled with sculptures. After climbing the 414 steps up to the top of Giotto's Campanile earlier that day, we decided to skip the Palazzo Pitti to soak up some sunshine in the Boboli Gardens and have a more leisurely afternoon. 

But, we soon found out that we'd have to do some more climbing before we could settle down with our Kindles since the Boboli Gardens is built on a hill - doh!

I read Dan Brown's Inferno at Christmas, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to visit Florence this year. At the beginning of the book our favourite Harvard Professor, along with a mysterious woman who is helping him figure out why he has been shot at and has a cylinder with a biohazard symbol on it, find themselves in the Boboli Gardens being chased by a drone.

One of the places they end up hiding is in the Buontalenti Grotto, which you can only access at certain times of the day (though you can admire its exterior at any time).

Luckily we timed it right and popped in before we headed to the Uffizi Gallery - another thing to thank the Medici family for - and we got to explore the three chambers that make up the Grotta Grande. (There are two other grottos in the Boboli Gardens which we didn't get chance to visit - there's the Grotto of Madama, plus the Cave of Adam and Eve.)

You'll find this grotto towards the exit of the Boboli Gardens; time it right so you can visit it on your way out without having to backtrack.

The Boboli Gardens is a peaceful green space in Florence, which felt quite empty on that hot September afternoon we were there. Costing €7 to get in (€10 if you book online), this also gives you access to Museo degli Argenti, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain museum and the Bardini Gardens. Take a picnic, spend the day there, and make the most of this beautiful space in Florence. x

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