The Boboli Gardens are one of the most important Italian gardens and a fantastic open-air museum.
This gorgeous park in the heart of Florence takes your breath away and brings to mind the splendor of the life of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany.
The Boboli Gardens were designed and built by Florentine architects such as Bartolomeo Ammannati and Bernardo Buontalenti, who characterized the park with the biting irony typical of the Florentines.
Here are some examples:
The Fountain of Bacchus is a grotesque-style fountain that represents Braccio di Bartolo, the court dwarf most loved by Cosimo I de’ Medici.
The Fountain of Neptune is ironically called by the Florentines Fontana della forchetta (Fountain of the Fork), because of the trident grabbed by the god of the sea.
As you walk through the alleys of the gardens, you can see a number of sculptures, many inspired by Roman mythology.
Some of them are really odd, such as the statues of the players of saccomazzone.
This game was in vogue in eighteenth-century Italy. Two blindfolded players, with one hand on a rock, try to drive out the enemy by hitting it with a long, knotted rag.
Another rarity of the garden and a source of curiosity is the Fountain of Mostaccini, built with a long sequence of steps and masks (mostaccini).
They had both a decorative function and a practical one: in fact, they were able to attract small birds, which were then caught in nets hanging from the trees above.
The Boboli Gardens feature many surprising oddities, some little known and of little artistic importance, others of great beauty…
Among the most beautiful ones is the Grotto of Buontalenti, which accurately reproduces the natural elements of a cave in the playful style typical of Mannerism.
The gardens were created to please the eyes and the mind, providing fun and entertainment to those who walk along their tree-lined streets and among their many fountains.
The Boboli Gardens are a luxurious place, where culture and entertainment are intertwined and where mind and soul can be satisfied together.
Dan Brown is fascinated by the Boboli Gardens, and they play quite an important role in his 2013 novel Inferno, as Robert Langdon and Sienna Brooks escape through their pathways.
To learn more about Boboli, we recommend the Gardens of the World, an interesting DVD.
Pictures by FlorenceInferno, except for Saccomazzone, which is from Wikipedia