Spring at the Boboli Gardens

by Rebecca Bricker on April 21, 2013

I’ve never waited so long for Spring. We’ve had 40 days and nights of chilly rain here in Florence during the past month — do the math. 😉

So when the sun burst forth in all its glory last Sunday, I grabbed my camera and hustled to the Boboli Gardens. (I live near an entrance to the gardens used mostly by local residents, which feels a bit like slipping in the back door.)

The Boboli Gardens — a lavish 111-acre park that adjoins the Pitti Palace, on the south side of the Arno — is the sterling template of 16-century Italian landscape design, replete with grottos, temples and sculptures that date back to Roman times. The enormity of the Boboli is staggering. In fact, after my first tour of the gardens, I staggered home, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

Last Sunday’s visit, however, was a delightful surprise. This corner of the Boboli — inside the ‘back door’ — has an intimacy I didn’t expect. Yes, there are jaw-dropping vistas, basins and fountains. But there are also shaded meandering pathways and quiet places of repose.

On a sprawling unmown lawn, carpets of wildflowers seemed to have been rolled out for lovers, sleepyheads and two little boys who found a crawly creature in the grass. >>>






I found these lovely jewels of nature in my own little patch of lawn. >>>

And this tiny, dazzling gem…









I wandered off the well-worn paths — as is my habit — and discovered something many visitors miss: the Fontana dei Mostaccini (Fountain of Little Ugly Faces). Installed in the early 1600s, the fountain spouted water from 16 little ugly faces to attract birds hunted by Lorenzo de Medici.


I came upon a grotto with a ceiling of shells and pebbles. It’s home to a statue of Adam and Eve, who don’t look terribly happy. But I couldn’t stop laughing when these puckish American students struck this pose…





I scurried toward the exit just as the gatekeeper was locking up…








In the fading light of day, every new leaflet seemed to glow…

I savored the moment, on the first real day of Spring.













Pat April 21, 2013 at 7:52 am

Extraordinary photographs. Hopefully spring will be coming back to Switzerland. It was here a few days and then gone for the weekend. I wonder what would have happened if you had been locked in the park for the night. Now that would make an interesting blog.

Rebecca Bricker April 21, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Sleeping under the stars at the Boboli – the blog post already has a title. Great idea, Pat! Next time, I’ll stuff my little travel pillow in my purse. 😉

Thom Parrott-Sheffer April 21, 2013 at 9:43 am

Sometimes you just make me happy – thanks for the smile! :-)

Rebecca Bricker April 21, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Here’s a big smile back to you, T – 😀

Céline Berthelot April 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

It brings back many happy memories. I was there a year ago !
You live in a very nice part of Florence.
Thanks for sharing,

Rebecca Bricker April 21, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Please let me know next time you’re back this way, Celine. I’d love to meet you. :)

Patrick Bones April 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Thoroughly enjoyed your visit to the gardens! So glad to see Spring is busting out all over!

Rebecca Bricker April 21, 2013 at 11:49 pm

It’s not warm enough to sit by a pool yet – I’m sure you guys already have tan lines! Ah, the good life in SoCal.
You would love the Boboli, Pat – it’s right up your ‘alle.’ (Are you impressed with my landscape-design vocabulary?) 😉

Patricia Lessard April 21, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Bellisima! Your photographs get more and more beautiful. Thank you for taking us to the gardens with you Becky.

Rebecca Bricker April 21, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Thank you, Pat. It would be so much fun to explore the meandering paths together – come visit! :)

Jackie Lamothe April 27, 2013 at 3:44 am

oh, how I wish I could be there. I didn’t spend nearly enough time in the Gardens when I visited last.
Thank you for the glorious photos.
Ciao for now.

Gaya April 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Rebecca you ve got a great camera and a wonderful quirky eye… need to get a better cam meself. Let’s go hunt one down. P L E A S E don’t get locked in… another one for the chronicles !!

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