Monday, 1 May 2017

Orto Botanico

Happy Primo Maggio! Hopefully you're spending your May day doing some exploring. Here's a few snaps from my wandering on Saturday of the Botanical Gardens, the Orto Botanico of Firenze. It's amazing to think these botanical gardens are the third oldest in the whole of Italy, coming just after Padua and Pisa. They may be relatively small (currently 2.39 hectars), but these gardens contain a lot. Founded on December 1st 1545 when the Grand Duke Cosimo dei Medici bought the land from Dominican sisters, at the time the land was an orchard known as Giardino dei Semplici because it has been used to cultivate medicinal plants, and still is to an extent today. Highlights include the huge Orangerie that confusingly contains an abundance of ferns, the many potted lemon trees, the fragrant perfume of the giant roses coiled around wire structures, the Yoga taking place in the middle of the gardens by the fountain (I thought papping people as they found their inner zen might ruin the moment hence no photos of that particular joy - mi dispiace). 

The gardens were originally designed by Niccolò called "il Tribolo" the designer behind several other grand ducal gardens produced around the same time, like the Medici villa in Castello (another place I have yet to explore). The entire area is divided into many beautiful avenues of plants, trees and smaller green houses. At first the giardino was directed by the botanist Luca Ghini a favourite of the Botanical Gardens at Pisa, but by the 18th century the generosity of Cosimo III Dei Medici saw the gardens put under the direction of the Florentine Botanical Society and the botanist Pier Antonio Micheli.

Weather wise I was very lucky, the sun shone and showed the garden in its best light, it's a very tranquil spot and well worth the walk just a little north of the historical centre. Anyway, I hope you all had a very happy May day.