A visit to the Giardino Boboli on a cool, hazy morning.

 

From the Porta Romana entrance a narrow, stepped avenue leads steeply up the hill while tempting, green tunnels zig-zag through the trees either side.

 

Most visitors arrive in the garden from the adjoining Palazzo Pitti  straight into the grand, formal amphitheatre.  The Renaissance palace, built for Florentine banker Luca Pitti in 1458, was extended by successive owners over the centuries and is now a vast museum complex. The garden was laid out in the 16th century for Duke Cosimo de’ Medici establishing a style that was copied in palace gardens all over Europe.

 

Like the palace the garden was extended, decorated and elaborated over the centuries with monumental stairways, statues, fountains and grottos. The main axis leading up from the palace is impressive.  Some of the quiet back routes are attractively mysterious, especially on a misty morning. (By Medici standards this is a quiet back route).

 

The structure of a Renaissance garden guides the experience  of the visitor.  There’s no doubting the routes through the garden but views are restricted for dramatic effect until you reach a gateway.

 

Step across the terrace and this view opens up below you.  There’s no doubting the message that the designer was setting out for his noble clients.  This is the view from the top.

 

I don’t have a photo of the villa at the top of the garden that served as a summer house for the Medici family.  Here instead is the coffee house added for the Lorena family who acquired the palace and garden in the eighteenth century.  A room with a view, even on a misty morning.