It had been a deliciously lazy day in Florence but by the late afternoon we felt that we should tick something else off our list. We were feeling fairly dusty, the aftermath of the night before which ended quite tellingly, at the most unlikely of places in such a foodie city – Florence’s golden arches. It was at the request of my friend, who works at McDonalds in Australia but never eats the food (which made the look on her face all the more priceless the next morning, when I gleefully provided photographic evidence and a short video of her clutching not one, but two cheeseburgers).
We decided on a leisurely stroll through the Boboli Gardens, behind the Pitti Palace. An easy walk in the fresh air would do us both good.
We bought our tickets (under 10 Euro, I believe) and the cashier asked us if we knew it was half an hour before closing time. We thought that was odd, but continued anyway.
It turns out that the Boboli Gardens are more suited to those with the energy to frolic up and down it’s many steep hills (which seem to be purely for decorate because as soon as you get to the bottom you’re working your way up again) and those with the stamina for a long walk on a hot day.
Regardless, I loved them and advise leaving yourself enough time to get completely lost in them. Sprawling over acres, the gardens are one of the largest and most elegant Italian gardens in the world.
Look out for Neptune’s fountain (one of the first things you’ll see, if you persevere upwards) and in the south eastern section, the Isolotto, or little island. It is gated off, unfortunately, but is a small garden island. I also loved the expressive statues that guard the gardens, at the end of paths and nestled in hedges which makes it like an outdoor museum. The Grotto of Buontalenti, which we found as we tried to find our way out, is really impressive. Near the Rococco style Kaffeehaus (which you can’t enter), is a stunning view of Florence.