General information of the Boboli Gardens
The Boboli garden is the green lung of Florence. It was designed in the Renaissance period as a private grand-ducal garden of the Pitti palace. Currently it is the most important Italian garden in the world both for its extension and for its architectural setting. It contains a large number of works ranging from those of Roman times to those made in the twentieth century. About 800,000 visitors pass through the garden every year to admire the beauty spread over an area of 45,000 square meters. The closest part to Palazzo Pitti is the oldest one. Over the centuries new parts have been added with dissimilar settings. The temples and fountains always arouse great admiration as well as the caves and tree-lined paths.
Island basin or islet
Taking the so-called viottolone, a downhill road flanked by cypresses and statues, we arrive at the islet. The islet, also known as the island's basin, was designed by the Giulio brothers and Alfonso Parigi in 1618. It is located in the center of a square surrounded by hedgerows that have a height close to 12 meters. In front of the plants there are numerous statues with various subjects: from historical to rural. The circular pool is in the center and is characterized by the presence of a small island connected to the ground with two identical walkways. On the island there are marble fountains depicting harpies pouring water into shells adorned with sea creatures. At the center of the island stands the sculptural complex of Neptune by Giambologna.
It was the Medici who spread the fashion to collect citrus plants. To avoid that these shrubs could perish during the winter, it was necessary to build a covered shelter dedicated to them called the lemon house. The transfer of the plants was made possible thanks to the use of small, medium or large clay pots depending on the proportions of the plant housed. The limonaia is located in the central part of the garden. It was built to a design by Sanobi del Rosso in 1778 for Duke Leopold. The facade is characterized by four large windows separated by pilasters. Even today, in winter, the lemon house is home to numerous citrus fruits and other plants sensitive to cold. Some lemons date back to the Medici period.
Boboli Gardens: Grotta del Buontalenti
You cannot leave the Boboli gardens without first entering the famous Buontalenti cave. It was commissioned by Francesco I de 'Medici to Bernardo Buontalenti who created a unique and unrepeatable work. The entrance is decorated with concretions comparable to stalagmites and, on both sides, are the sculptures of Apollo and Ceres del Bandinelli. In the first room you meet there are elements of painting, architecture and sculpture wisely measured to create an effect of loss in the customer. In the corners Michelangelo's prisons were once placed, today replaced with copies. In the recent restoration completed in the early nineties, semi-hidden terracotta channels were created that created water features no longer visible.