La Spiaggetta sull’Arno: an urban oasis in Florence

La Spiaggetta sull’Arno: an urban oasis in Florence

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There are no palm trees in La Spiaggetta sull’Arno, yet this Florence’s oasis has white sand where one can lie on for sunbathing, reading a book, drink Prosecco, set up a blind date, or practice tai-chi, yoga and other oriental oddities. The Arno’s Rive Gauche small urban beach is an initiative developed by Easy Leaving Firenze. It is located only a stone’s throw away from San Niccolò, under the Lungarno Serristori. During summer, one can enjoy all the comforts of a real maritime establishment with hammocks, sun loungers and a beach bar serving ice creams and cocktails while listening to music. At sunset, the bar also offers a typical aperitivo adding a panoramic view. An inimitable spot within the city, where experiencing a summer in the beach with all its activities is doable. Play beach volleyball, ping pong, football, or petanque tournaments is also possible here. To liven up the hot, humid and sticky Florentine summer nights — filled with mosquitoes — concerts, DJ sets and performances are also scheduled.
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Gardens of Florence #14: Giardino Villa La Pietra

Gardens of Florence #14: Giardino Villa La Pietra

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Villa La Pietra is currently the headquarters of New York University (NYU) in Italy. Its garden is by far my favourite private garden in Florence and it is one of the most renowned in Italy. Built by the Acton Family between 1908 and the beginning of the Second World War, its design is very much inspired by the real Renaissance gardens of Florence, though it also contains elements of the many gardening trends and styles popular since then.…

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Gardens of Florence #3: giardino Bardini, splendour in the grass

Gardens of Florence #3: giardino Bardini, splendour in the grass

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Florence reaches its climax in early April as wisteria flowers blossom at Giardino Bardini. This historic garden, built with fountains and statues in English and Baroque style, is placed on a steep hill of Oltrarno. Its open green space was made public after restoration in 2007. Best to explore it is — possibly with someone loved — at eight in the morning, when just gardeners are around. Further wonders include the Belvedere, Giardino Boboli or the hike up to Costa San Giorgio and Porta San Giorgio, before pleasantly walking down to Porta San Niccolò along the trace of the old city wall.

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Gardens of Florence #11: giardino Corsi Annalena, first romantic garden in Florence

Gardens of Florence #11: giardino Corsi Annalena, first romantic garden in Florence

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It is said that Cosimo I de’ Medici built an underground tunnel from Boboli gardens and Palazzo Pitti passing under Torrigiani and Corsi Annalena gardens to go to the Florentine country side without being seen and molested. This last one, a small size private garden takes its name from countess Anna Elena Malatesta, whose adjacent palace is today the legendary Pensione Annalena. At the end of 18th century, the garden was acquired by the Corsi family, hence its actual name Corsi Annalena, and designed by the architect Giuseppe Manetti. It is located in Oltrarno, between Via dei Serragli, Via de’ Mori and Via Romana, facing the Boboli gardens. Numerous terracotta sculptures representing different mythological characters ornament the green field. One of the fountains has a copy of Verrocchio’s Putto con delfino. The garden, with a uniform style inspired in the neoclassical cannons and indisputable beauty, has also a glasshouse. Beside its reduced sized, it has several semiprivate ambients that allow the visitor to isolate in an atmosphere prone to instant infatuation. Nowadays the garden Corsi Annalena is private and it is only open on special occasions.
To visit the gardens it is mandatory to call +39552280105 or send an email to scarsellistefania@yahoo.it
Giardino Corsi Annalena – Via Romana 38

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Gardens of Florence #10: giardini Villa Fabbricotti and Baden Powell, between decadence and bucolic solitude

Gardens of Florence #10: giardini Villa Fabbricotti and Baden Powell, between decadence and bucolic solitude

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In this less-traveled park, not especially projected to attract tourists, on a Saturday noon you will find a couple of people lying on the benches sunbathing, reading, drinking beer or walking dogs. The fact that it looks semi-abandoned gives it an attractive decadent appearance. Formerly the Fabbricotti villa and the park belonged to the Strozzi family.…

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Gardens of Florence #6: giardino dell´Iris

Gardens of Florence #6: giardino dell´Iris

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Each year Florence is ready to witness the flowering of the iris in the giardino dell´Iris. It is located in piazzale Michelangelo and was founded in 1954 with the aim of organizing an annual international contest to reward the best varieties of iris. Florence is considered the natural home of the iris because of the bond that this flower always had with the history of the city. The emblem of Florence is a red iris in a white field, and not a lily, as is mistakenly believed. The site offers panoramic views of the city thanks to a surface of approximately two and a half hectares on the hill of an olive grove. It is divided by paths and stone paths, flowerbeds and stairs. Here one can see the variants of the iris: intermediate and dwarf bearded, Japanese, Sibiric, Louisiana … In addition to guided tours in Italian and English, watercolor painting courses are also offered.
Monday through Friday from 10a.m. to 1p.m. and from 3p.m. to 7:30p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from 10a.m. to 7:30p.m. Last admission, half an hour before closing time. Free entrance…

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Gardens of Florence #8: giardino dell’Orticultura, a locals’ garden in the city centre

Gardens of Florence #8: giardino dell’Orticultura, a locals’ garden in the city centre

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Born as an ‘experimental garden’ in the middle of the 19th century, the Via Bolognese park in northern Florence is today one of the most beloved and quiet places to visit during spring and summer. In addition to the renaissance Loggetta Bondi, in the giardino dell’Orticultura there is also a large glass and iron greenhouse, considered one of the most beautiful in Italy, as well as the rarest when built following design of Giacomo Roster. The greenhouse is used today for celebrating events, parties, food and cultural activities, while the garden houses the Municipal Library of Horticulture, hosting since 1862 horticultural exhibitions in order to promote the ‘knowledge of good horticultural practices.’ The feeling here is that of a ‘neighbourhood park,’ despite located not far from the tourist hustle in the historic centre. It has a bar with terrace which is frequented mostly by university students.

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Gardens of Florence #2: Walking through lemon trees and turtles in giardino Corsini al Prato

Gardens of Florence #2: Walking through lemon trees and turtles in giardino Corsini al Prato

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The unexpected Florence is found in Porta al Prato, a surprise standing among the noise of the tram and the traffic, in Via della Scala. Here lies the garden-oasis at the back of Palazzo Corsini al Prato, an impressive but decadent building from 1590. Its garden is home to about 180 citrus trees (mostly lemon trees), as well as wisteria, lecithins, roses, tulips and peonies. Additionally, a hundred turtles roam freely around the land. This site is preserved from mass tourism and offers an unprecedented experience. Also, the garden hosts every May the exhibition of craftsmen of the palace.
(Via il Prato, 58 – EUR10 admission)…

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Gardens of Florence #9: giardino di Boboli, the paradigm of a 16th century Italian garden

Gardens of Florence #9: giardino di Boboli, the paradigm of a 16th century Italian garden

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The Boboli Gardens date back to 1418 when Luca Pitti bought its land in Oltrarno intending to build the magnificent Pitti Palace, later owned by the Medici family. The Medici commissioned the landscaping to Niccolò Tribolo, the famous architect responsible for the gardens of their villas of Castello and La Petraia. However, after the premature death of Tribolo, it was Bartolomeo Ammannati who finished the job. The Boboli is the paradigm of the 16th-century Italian garden, as well as one of the most significant historical parks in Florence. Around the principal axes are placed avenues, hedges, terraces full of statues and fountains. The first operas of history were also represented in its open-air amphitheatre.
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Gardens of Florence #7: giardino delle Rose

Gardens of Florence #7: giardino delle Rose

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The giardino delle Rose is one of the most beautiful panoramic gardens of Florence. Here bloom some varieties of roses even in late autumn. Created by the architect Giuseppe Poggi in 1865, the giardino delle Rose is nowadays a sculptural park of reduced dimensions. Located on the hill of San Miniato, just below the piazzale Michelangelo, this garden holds a privileged position and stands as a perfect “green balcony” towards San Niccolò. From this place it is possible to view the whole city at a glance. The garden of the Roses has around a thousand varieties of roses and other ornamental plants, in addition to twelve sculptures by Jean-Michel Folon. Here one can sunbathe, read, take a nap, walk and contemplate other not so typical architectural sites of the city.
Giardino delle Rose – Viale Giuseppe Poggi 2 – open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m – free entrance

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