On a recent trip to Florence with my wife Janet and photographer friend Martyn we took some time out to visit the famous Boboli Garden, part of the historic Palazzo Pitti, the largest museum complex in Europe. Our short holiday was more of a culinary and cultural city break rather than a grand garden tour, but even considering the time of year this opportunity to take in one of Italy’s renowned classical gardens was too good to miss.
Although the Boboli Garden was indeed impressive in a grand yet minimalist Italian way, the ticket also included entry to another Renaissance garden, tucked away down a quiet, narrow street just a short stroll away. The recently opened and little-known Bardini Garden is a much more intimate affair, with an Anglo-Italian feel and views across the city of Florence to match anything that the Boboli Garden has to offer. A real bonus!
Reading the brochure it became obvious (though not exactly a surprise) that this is a garden for the spring and early summer, boasting collections of azaleas, viburnum and camellia, as well as olive groves, a rose garden and wisteria pergola. Not to worry though – we were in Italy after all – and even in late October there was plenty in the way of architectural formality, statues, stairways and grottoes to keep us enthralled. There was also a very well tended and fruitful kitchen garden adjacent to the ‘Kaffehaus’ terrace…yet another excuse for a cappuccino stop. Oh, and did I mention the views…?