The Renaissance of Boboli

Maxi campaign of interventions for the Medici park. For the first time, the Botanical Garden is opened in the ordinary way

Italy, Florence  – A plan for restoring and rearranging the greenery, installation of new benches, the daily opening, for the first time ever, of the exotic garden of Upper Botany, and even the opening of a ‘Medici’ ice cream parlour: this is the Renaissance of Boboli, a vast programme of interventions to make the historic garden that surrounds and embraces Palazzo Pitti, the former palace of the Grand Dukes in the Florentine Oltrarno even more evocative and enjoyable.

The first and central stage in the project to relaunch the park is the return to the public, starting today, of the Giardino della Botanica Superiore, also known as the Giardino degli Ananassi, which until now has never been accessible to visitors in the ordinary way: now it will be, from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 1 pm. The space, very impressive, welcomes in its hectare of extension hundreds of different species of aquatic plants, tropical and subtropical. The only example of a romantic garden inside Boboli, its restoration has lasted many years and concerned both the architectural and botanical aspects. Now everyone can admire every day the sinuous shapes of the flowerbeds and the colorful natural treasures contained therein.

In the meantime, work is continuing on improving all the areas in the park. Along the paths, 46 new benches in pietra serena have been placed, coming from the Santa Brigida quarries on the Florentine hills, and the objective is to reach 60 in a short time. A series of restorations of the statues in the garden has begun: in recent weeks, the recovery works of the first two, Hera and Pudicizia, have been completed. Work will also soon begin on the four columns of the central island and on the bases, and the restoration of the historic baths, that of the Meridiana and those of Annalena, as well as the restoration of the Fountain of the Apes, is also imminent.

Not only that. In Boboli, another major restoration project (partly financed with funds from the Region of Tuscany), that of the “secret” Garden of the Camellias, also like the Upper Botany, which has never been opened to the public in the ordinary way, is in the start-up phase. With a total area of over 300 square meters, the garden stands on a strip of land long and narrow, located on the west side of Palazzo Pitti. Born in the first half of the seventeenth century as a space of exclusive relevance of the apartment of Prince Mattias, younger brother of Grand Duke Ferdinand II, remains throughout history a secluded space and reserved only for members of the family and the court. Today it is in a state of neglect and its ramparts are afflicted by structural problems: for this reason, a careful survey campaign has already been carried out on site, a preparatory operation for the preparation of the restoration plan. The project is currently being drafted. The works are scheduled for the two-year period 2020-2021.

The “Primavera di Boboli” project also continues, with Gucci donating 2 million euros for a series of projects in the Garden, which has been under UNESCO protection since 2013. In addition to what has already been completed (consolidation of the monumental cypress of the Amphitheatre, work on the Garden’s drainage system, purchase of new pottery and basins in Impruneta terracotta for the Medici collection of citrus fruits), other actions are currently underway: in particular, from May 6, work will begin on consolidation and restoration of the hot orchid greenhouse at the Giardino della Botanica Superiore, followed by work at the Botanica Superiore to restore the tub of aquatic plants and the “secret” passage behind it, which is now starting a competition. And the botanical restoration of the Viottolone dei Cipressi and Viale dei Platani, for which the executive project has been completed, is in the same phase (starting next autumn). In this way, the historical compositions of the rows of trees that have suffered heavy losses over the years will be reconstituted, with the new plantation of 53 cypresses and 25 plane trees.

Great care is obviously dedicated to the Boboli arboreal heritage, which has hundreds of centuries-old trees: an accurate programme of monitoring and evaluation of the stability of tall trees is underway, with the replacement of any specimens that do not meet the safety requirements or have reached the end of the cycle.

Finally, there is one last novelty: in addition to the restoration of the Garden of the Camellias and that, long announced, of the Kaffehaus (the pavilion dating back to 1776, designed by Zanobi del Rosso, the architect of the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, which once the work is finished will once again be a resting place and refreshment), The project to open the garden of the ‘Gelateria Buontalenti’ (from the name of the famous architect who created the ‘Grotta Grande’ in Boboli, and who in the 16th century invented the ‘frozen dessert’, the precursor of modern ice cream) has been put in the pipeline: will rise in the meadow of the Chestnut trees, located in the upper part of the park, in a building of the late ‘800. And perhaps, among the tastes that you can choose, there will also be the bitter oranges grown directly inside Boboli.


The Medici were the first, from 1500, to take care of the arrangement, creating the model of Italian garden that became exemplary for many European courts. The vast green area divided in a regular way, is a real open-air museum, populated by ancient and Renaissance statues, adorned with caves, first of all the famous one made by Bernardo Buontalenti, and large fountains, such as that of Neptune and the Ocean. The successive dynasties of Lorraine and Savoy further enriched the structure, expanding the boundaries that run along the ancient city walls up to Porta Romana. The terraced area with the 18th century pavilion of the Kaffeehaus, a rare example of Rococo architecture in Tuscany, and the Limonaia, built by Zanobi del Rosso between 1777 and 1778, are particularly impressive from a visual point of view.


Park extension: about 30 hectares

Start of construction: during the 1500’s (it was bought by Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I, in 1550; the project was entrusted to Niccolò Pericoli called il Tribolo).

Dynasties that have contributed to the construction and expansion of the park: 3 (Medici, Lorraine, Savoy)

High-stemmed plants present: over 3000

Statues present: about 300

Visitors: 1,188,409 in 2018 (+9% over the previous year)

In Boboli there are about 500 citrus plants grown in pots, belonging to about 60 different varieties. Over twenty of these are ancient Medici varieties. The Boboli citrus collection is one of the most important in Europe in botanical terms.

How did the name ‘Boboli’ come about? There are various hypotheses, but among the most accredited is that it derives from the name of the family ‘Borgolo’, ‘Borgoli’ or ‘Borgolini’, owner of the plot where the garden was built. The land was purchased in 1418 by Luca Pitti, who began the construction of the palace of the same name, which was later to become the Royal Palace of the Grand Dukes.

Devi essere registrato per inviare un commento Entra o registrati