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Florence – Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens - Florence

The Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) and Boboli Gardens are really the Medici's creation. A Florentine banker Lorenzo Pitti built the palazzo, but sold it to the Medici's in the mid 16th century. From there on, the Medici's expanded the palace and formal gardens. In later centuries, the palace was inhabited by dukes from Lorraine (France), Napoleon, and King and Queen of Italy in the 19 century.

Pitti Palace - Boboli Gardens Photo Album
Tip: When we visited, the Palatine Gallery/Royal Apartments is one ticket, Boboli Gardens (plus three museums) a separate ticket.
The Boboli Gardens ticket also includes Galleria del Costume, Museo degli Argenti, and Porcelain Museum. These three museums are worth a visit on bad weather days, but if the weather is nice, run around outdoors.
Pitti Palace - Palatine Gallery – The Palatine Gallery (Galleria Palatina) is the art collection, and Royal Apartments (Appartamenti Reali) are lavish living quarters of the Medicis. All the rooms have famous paintings, stacked to the ceilings.
pitti palace raphael
   

The visit begins with the rooms of Palatine Gallery, starting with ancient Roman statues collected by the Medici. In the next rooms, look for stellar paintings by Botticelli, lovely Madonna by Fra Lippo Lippi, frescoes in the Salla della Stufa decorated with paintings of cherubs playing with a lion, portrait of Galileo, and our favorite, the Madonna della Seggiola by Raphael. Check out Napoleon's bathroom (he stayed in the palace after conquering Italy).

     

In the gilded Royal Apartments, stroll through the green brocade room, red throne room (audience room for the Grand Duke), blue bedroom, the Chinese dressing room, decorated with portraits of grand dukes and duchesses, and later kings and queens of Italy.

Costume Museum (Galleria del Costume) – The Italians are famous for fashion, and the Costume Museum you can see clothes from the 19th century, empire dresses, wide flared skirts and flounces, rich black velvets, wedding dresses and beaded dresses in the 1920's, and evening gowns galore.

For the jewelry-minded, visit the Silver Museum (Museo degli Argenti) on the ground floor of Pitti, with gems, semi-precious stones, crystal vases, engraved cameos and gold cups.

Porcelain Museum (Museo delle Porcellane) Located at the top of the Boboli Gardens on the east side, this small museum has 18th and 19th century porcelain. Check out cups decorated with scenes from Florence and ceramic animals.

     

Knight's Garden – In front of the museum is the Knight's Garden (named after the ramparts designed by Michelangelo). Excellent views of the hills around Florence, and delightful Fountain of the Monkeys.

Boboli Gardens - Florence

Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli) The Boboli Gardens are filled with marvelous grottoes, ponds, fountains, an Egyptian obelisk, and Roman statues. It's like a huge maze, paths covered with trees that meet in the middle, or a whole shady forest, populated with chirping birds. Plenty of benches and grassy spots to sit down, and room to run and stretch your legs, lots of places for kids to find their own secret spot.

      Statues When you enter the gardens from the Pitti Palace courtyard, off to the right is the lovely Pegasus statue, straight up the hill, the Egyptian obelisk, and then statue of Neptune holding a trident in the middle of the pond.
      Throughout the gardens are statues of animals see how many lions, dogs, goats, monkeys, fish and sea creatures you can find.
      Grottoes
grand grotto boboli gardens
    - Bunontalenti's Grand Grotto On the outside of the grotto is the Medici logo, and on either side, goat and turtle reliefs with shell mosaics. Inside the grotto are paintings of forest scenes with an owl, leopard, monkey, lynx,bear, and mysterious forest people sculpted in the walls.
      - Madam Grotto Near to the Grand Grotto, this 16th century grotto is decorated with four goats (Capricorn was the zodiac sign for Cosimo II Medici) and two cherubs holding fish.
      - Annalena Grotto Need ideas for shell mosaics? the blue and yellow mosaics have symbols of Neptune, his trident, sea creatures, shells and corals.
      Island Pond – In the center of the pond is a towering Ocean Fountain, with Neptune and figures representing three great rivers, the Nile, Ganges and Euphrates (this is a copy, original is in the Bargello). On the gateposts are statues of goats (Medici emblem), and surroundings the pond are statues of peasants, dogs and lions.
      Tip: There are different entrances to the Boboli Gardens. In addition to the entrance to the gardens through the Pitti Palace, there are also separate entrances near the Forte di Belvedere, Annalena Grotto and Porta Romana.
Forte Belvedere - Florence

Forte di Belvedere – Just above the Boboli Gardens is the Forte di Belvedere, a 16th century star-shaped fort. Entrance to the fort is free, there are grassy areas and benches, and super views of the Cathedral. Bring a picnic and relax, away from the hustle and bustle of central Florence. To get to the fort, walk up Costa di San Giorgio.

    Fort is open May to October.
      Next to Forte di Belvedere is Porta San Giorgio, and a whole section of the old city walls (see next section).
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