Viale dei Cipressi (Cypress Avenue), also known as the Viottolone, is a wide boulevard that marks the secondary axis of the Boboli Gardens. It starts from the “Isolotto”, an artificial island decorated with a fountain and sculptures.
The earthworks for the creation of this avenue, which is surrounded by labyrinths, the ragnaie and the cerchiate, began in 1612. In fact, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, works of accommodation and an extension to the Boboli Gardens were underway. Even the Fountain of the Fork resulted from this project.
The avenue is split by three side alleys, thereby dividing this part of the garden into six compartments. On the sides of the Viottolone descend two cerchiate that are communicating with it.
The avenue is flanked by two rows of cypress trees, planted in 1637, and is decorated with numerous statues arranged symmetrically and located near the crossroads where three paths cross. These statues allude to heroic myths or games.
To the left of this avenue, where there was once a maze, is a meandering avenue created to accomodate the passage of carriages. The central basin of the maze remains and is now surrounded by an elliptical flower bed.
The right side of the avenue, which was dedicated to hunting, contains the walled kitchen garden.
The beginning of this avenue, from Prato dell’Uccellare, is marked by two statues, known as Greek Tyrannicides, situated in front of a backdrop of cypress and laurel hedges.These two statues are old, and the one on the left is particularly valuable, being a copy of a Greek bronze group dating to 447 BC.
Here you find the description of the Viottolone in Dan Brown’s Inferno:
The Viottolone was as wide as a two-lane road and lined by a row of slender, four-hundred-year-old cypress trees.
“There’s no cover,” Sienna said, eyeing the uncamouflaged avenue and motioning up at the circling drone.
“You’re right,” Langdon said with a lopsided grin. “Which is why we’re taking the tunnel beside it.”
He pointed again, this time to a dense hedgerow adjacent to the mouth of the Viottolone. The wall of dense greenery had a small arched opening cut into it. Beyond the opening, a slender footpath stretched out into the distance—a tunnel running parallel with the Viottolone.
This tunnel was La Cerchiata.
Pictures by Wikimedia