Florence is a striking city, full of art and culture. But what it is lesser known for is its aesthetically pleasing outside spaces and gardens. Hidden behind Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens really are a masterpiece when it comes to nature and mythological influences.
Throughout the gardens, there are various statues that really help to show Italy at its best, as they are culturally significant, beautiful and powerful. I just love how some of them can be found nestled near overgrowing bushes, whilst others are hidden in nooks – you’d never know they’re there until you explore under the porches and through the archways.
Alongside these historical statues are those that clearly have strong mythological influences behind them. The winged horse reminds you of Pegasus (providing you know the story of Hercules and his winged horse). But in my view, the Neptune fountain is the star of the show. Grand in size and domineering within the gardens, you can’t help but be attracted to its flowing water and striking curves.
That said, right up there with extraordinary sights is the arena, which is partly Greek in appearance whilst also being Egyptian looking, thanks to the obelisk towering over you and the park landscape. And if you look closely, you should notice yet more statues related to myths and legends surrounding the outside of the arena. It’s the details like this that really set this garden apart from most others – it almost looks like the various Gods and Goddesses are surveying the land, just like they would when looking down on Earth from Mount Olympus – powerful stuff!
I have fond memories of these gardens, not just because of how stunning they are, but also because my trip to Italy was my first solo adventure and was the start of my ambition to see 3 new places abroad every year. I will also never forget the old Italian woman I met whilst exploring these gardens as well.
I noticed she was filling large water bottles using the various fountains dotted around the gardens, and so I thought I would follow her lead. However, these fountains were not a “push button and get water” type scenario – they were instead all about holding your finger against the water in the exact way needed in order to spurt the water out as a fountain. I was clearly not very good at this, so the lady wandered back over to help me whilst shouting “Abbastanza, abbastanza” very loudly at me. Loosely translated, that means “Enough, enough” or “Slowly, slowly” by the way.
She was an extraordinary woman and looked just like your very stereotypical old Italian lady. She was mesmerising – and it turns out that the bottles of water she was filling were for the stray cats roaming the gardens (she even had her own water bowl in tow with her).
It’s the memories like this that really help to bring a place to life, and I would just love it if you could also experience something like this whilst wandering through Boboli Gardens – some of the most beautiful gardens I have ever been lucky enough to find.
Entrance to the Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments in Palazzo Pitti costs €8.50. If you did want to marvel at the silverware and porcelain galleries as well, then this would be a further €7, which also allows for entry to the Boboli Gardens. Therefore, to see it all, expect to pay in the region of €15.50 for your whole day.