Florence offers many parks, gardens and other places where one can spend a pleasant day outdoors. The two major green areas in the city are the Boboli Gardens and the Cascine Park, which are definitely worth visiting. But Florence also unveils some hidden gems to those who dare venturing out of the usual tourist routes. Follow us, and discover 5 “minor” gardens you have to see when visiting the Oltrarno area in Florence.
The Rose Garden
Let’s start our itinerary from Piazzale Michelangelo. Descending along Viale Giuseppe Poggi, at number 2, we run into the charming Rose Garden. Realised in 1865 by architect Giuseppe Poggi, the garden is terraced and about one hectare wide, offering a panoramic view of Florence. It also hosts a Japanese oasis, donated in 1998 by the twin city of Kyoto and, since 2011, 10 bronze sculptures by Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon. The Rose Garden is open daily, from 09:00 am to sunset. The entrance to the garden is free.
Continuing along Via di Belvedere, let’s turn right near the Forte Belvedere. At number 4 of Costa San Giorgio we find the entrance of another beautiful panoramic garden, Villa Bardini. Laying on a hillside, the Villa Bardini garden has a unique perspective on Florence, and offers visitors three different routes to reach the exit: one can descend along the beautiful baroque staircase, go through the wisteria arbor and the orchard, or cross the English-style woods. Villa Bardini is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 am to 07:00 pm. It can be visited using the same ticket that provides access to the nearby Boboli Gardens.
The Corsi Annalena Garden
Keeping on walking along Via de’ Bardi, let’s reach Piazza Pitti and then Via Romana. At number 38 of Via Romana we find the neoclassical entrance of the Corsi Annalena garden. The first example of a romantic garden in Florence, this small park was built at the beginning of the XIXth century by architect Giuseppe Manetti, in the area where once stood the San Vincenzo monastery. The winding structure of the trails and the many statues of mythological figures, scattered along the path, make this small green area an oasis of tranquility in the heart of the city. The Corsi Annalena garden is open all year round, but it can only be visited arranging a private tour, by calling +39 055/222348.
The Torrigiani Garden
A few steps from the Corsi Annalena garden, in Via dei Serragli 144, is the Torrigiani Garden. With an extension of seven hectares, the Torrigiani Garden is the largest private garden in Europe built inside the walls of a city. This gigantic green area, that once saw the birth of the first Florentine Botanical Society, is home to both a historical nursery and an English-style park. The latter, designed by Louis Cambray Digny, combines natural elements (Himalayan pine, sequoia sempervirens, ancient cedars), statues and architecture to create a fascinating symbolic route, tied to the alchemical knowledge of Freemasonry. The Torrigiani Garden is open all year round, but can only be visitd by arranging a private tour at this address.
Villa Strozzi al Boschetto
Leaving the garden from Via Gusciana, let’s pass Piazza Tasso, and come to the edge of the San Frediano district, where Piazza Pier Vettori crosses Via Pisana. At number 177 of Via Pisana is the entrance to the park of Villa Strozzi al Boschetto. Located on the hill where once stood the Cafaggio forest, the Villa Strozzi park was designed in the mid XIXth century by architect Giuseppe Poggi. He is responsible for the restoration of the villa, the spectacular staircase, the central clearing and the limonaia. Despite these interventions, however, the park has maintained a wild feature that makes it a particularly attractive place, suitable for long walks. Since the eighties Villa Strozzi is home of the prestigious research center Tempo Reale, founded by composer Luciano Berio to investigate the relationship between music and new technologies. Since 2008, the limonaia hosts Tempo Reale Festival, an annual event that aims to present the best of experimental music. The Villa Strozzi park is open all year round, from 08:00 am untill sunset. The entrance to the park is free.