The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Garden Design in Florence and Boboli

Previous - Next

109. At Florence, the ducal gardens of Boboli are the most remarkable. They occupy two sides of a conical hill, and part of a bottom, and consist of three parts : a botanic and exotic garden close to the Palace Pitti, and to the celebrated museum ; a kitchen-garden, near the hill top ; and a geometric garden, which occupies the greater part of the hill. The scene abounds in almost every ingredient of the style in which it is laid out. The ground being very steep, almost all the walks slope considerably; but a few, conducted horizontally, are level, and serve, if the expression be admissible, as resting walks. There are abundance of seats, arbours, vases containing agaves and orange trees, and a prospect tower on the summit, from which, as well as from many other points, are obtained fine views of Florence and its environs. In the lower part or bottom is a handsome basin of water, with an island and fountains in the centre, bordered by a marble parapet ornamented in summer with vases of orange trees, and surrounded by shorn hedges and statues. On the whole, nothing has been spared to render these gardens complete of their kind : and the effect is perhaps as perfect as the situation, from its irregularity and steepness, will admit. There are numerous private gardens round Florence, but none of them remarkable. The fortuitous scenery of Vallombrosa and other romantic situations are the grand attractions for strangers. On Mount Fiesole, and thence to Bologna, are some country-seats, with lodges, and winding approaches, which, considering the arid soil, are highly beautiful, and come the nearest to those of England of any in the warmer regions of Italy