The decorative elements derived from nature are many in the Boboli Gardens, and Tribolo introduced many of them preserving the nature of the soil and existing plants.
In 1619 were rearranged the “ragnaie” (spaces bordered by high hedges and originally covered with very dense networks used for bird hunting) and the covered streets; by this arrangement were born probably the “cerchiate”.
Cerchiata means “arbor made of branches of trees bent as an arc”.
In fact, the circled curve is obtained from the branches of trees placed in rows to shade the garden paths. These branches are shaped by tying them in chestnut poles.
Probably the trees of the Boboli Gardens cerchiate were planted in about 1612.
This solution allowed to create new shaded, sheltered from the wind areas in the garden and increase the areas intended to contain new “ragnaie.”
In 1621 he was also built the waterway that ran along the “ragnaia” and had the function of water the birds.
Langdon had always considered La Cerchiata one of Florence’s most peaceful spots. Today, however, as he watched Sienna disappear down the darkened allée, he thought again of the Grecian free divers swimming into corral tunnels and praying they’d reach an exit.
(Inferno, Dan Brown)
The cerchiate as well as the ragnaie have their origin in the medieval idea of wilderness, according to this idea also the architecture created by man must reflect the forms of nature itself.
Robert Langdon is right when he thinks that these places can be a little scary, especially seen at night …
In the Boboli Gardens ragnaie, cerchiate and labyrinths were united by an ideal use in hunting and were tied to a concept of wild nature set to change in 1700.
The’re become so used to walking places and some of them were rearranged and decorated with citrus or intended to accommodate the more delicate plants.
The maintenance of these architectures plant was very demanding and expensive so that in some periods was imposed gardeners to contain costs.
The gardener Sebastian Rapi was appointed in charge of administrative and economic management of the garden just to try to keep costs down.
In some old manuals of gardening reads how to take care of the cerchiate that need of special attention.
For example, you know that cerchiate covered with climbing plants retain them own but those made from evergreen plants must be modeled with care and are better because they provide incessant shade.
In the Boboli Gardens there are two cerchiate: the Cerchiata Grande (Great Cerchiata) and the Cerchiata Piccola (Small Cerchiata).