In a city that gets anywhere from 10-16 million visitors each year, sometimes getting out of the crowded streets and into green space is just what you need. Luckily the gardens of Florence are just the ticket.
While on surface level you might not think of green spaces when you think of Florence, but if you know where to look you’ll find that the city is filled with them, and they are anything short of enchanting. From the expansive Boboli Gardens to the smaller locally loved Bobolino Gardens, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about exploring the gardens of Florence.
When we talk about the gardens of Florence there’s one name that will come up time and time again, and that’s the Boboli Gardens. They are the most well-known gardens in the city and for good reason. They were once the private gardens of the Medici family, who weren’t shy to do things a little over the top.
Spanning over approximately 111 acres the gardens are impeccably manicured and dotted with sculptures, orangeries, and fountains. With so much space, they’re a perfect place to escape the crowds, especially during the high season.
If you’re staying in the city for an extended period of time, consider getting the season ticket, as of November 2023 it only costs 25 euros and gives you daily access to the gardens. Other tickets include cumulative ticket options with the Palazzo Pitti or Bardini Gardens, or simply a day entry to the gardens.
If you’re someone who loves to catch a view, the Bardini Gardens are just for you. Located on a hill on the Oltrarno the gardens are one of the best places to see the panoramic view of Florence. While the gardens are beautiful all year long, they are especially stunning during April, when the purple Wisteria flowers are in full bloom and create a romantic tunnel hanging from the famed pergola.
In the warmer months, the Bardini Gardens host events like outdoor movies in the garden, or aperitivio. If you happen to be in town during one of the events, it’s a great way to connect with the local life of Florence, but be sure to bring bug spray because the mosquitos can be relentless.
Rose Gardens of Florence
Just below Florence’s Iconic Piazzale Michelangelo, there’s a little garden that makes for the ideal picnic spot with a grand view, it’s a place where you’ll be thinking “Pinch me” or as a friend of mine likes to proclaim “Where am I?”
The gardens are perched on a hill that overlooks the city and is home to over 1000 different types of roses, including 350 that are ancient roses. There’s a villa, a tiny orangeiere, and a resident cat that comes to say hi from time to time.
The gardens are free of charge, making them one of the best places to go with a book or your journal and lounge for the day while basking under the warm Tuscan sun.
Located in the Oltrarno district, this beautiful garden is nestled inside a former convent and dates back to the 15th century. The Iris Garden is only open for a brief period of time from mid-April to mid-May when the purple irises are in full bloom.
The garden also has an impressive collection of over 1500 different types of irises, each with their own unique color and scent. The Iris Garden is not as well-known as other gardens in Florence, making it a peaceful and tranquil escape.
The Botanical Gardens of Florence
Founded in 1545, the Botanical Gardens of Florence are one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. The gardens were created (by the Medici Family of course) to study and preserve medicinal plants, but today they showcase a variety of plants from all over the world.
The gardens also have beautiful greenhouses filled with exotic plants and there’s even a small pond with the most impressive water lilies I’ve ever come across. While it’s not as grand as the Boboli or the Bardini gardens, for anyone interested in horticulture, it’s a must-visit spot in florence.
These gardens are more of an extremely well-groomed park when compared to all the gardens of Florence, but they couldn’t be left off the list because they are along one of the absolute best roads in Florence to take a stroll along during the autumn months.
Viale Machiavelli is a villa-lined curvy road that spans from Porta Romana past Piazzale Michelangelo. These gardens make the perfect pitstop, with lush green grass, fountains and the most an old windy tree that’s perfect for reading a book in. These gardens are where the il dolce far niente comes to life, with people sprawled out taking in the sun while enjoying doing absolutely nothing.
** Also along this road is a little hidden gem called Chalet Fontana. A perfect afternoon includes stopping there for a spritz on the balcony overlooking their private garden before continuing onward to Piazzale Michelangelo for sunset.
Torrigiani Gardens Florence
The Torrigiani Gardens are the largest privately owned gardens in Europe, covering an impressive 17 hectares of land. These stunning gardens were designed by Niccolò Triburgo in the 16th century and feature a mix of Italian Renaissance and English landscape styles. The garden is home to over 3,000 plant species from around the world, including rare and exotic varieties. It is also home to several magnificent statues, fountains, and grottos, creating a truly breathtaking atmosphere.
The Torrigiani Gardens are not open to the public on a regular basis, but they can be visited by booking a guided tour with one of the owners. This exclusive experience gives visitors the opportunity to explore the gardens in depth while learning about their history and unique features. The tour also includes a visit to the Torrigiani Villa, which is filled with beautiful art and antiques.