by Melinda Gallo

Giardino Bardini for a relaxing stroll

Today I decided to treat myself to a stroll in Giardino Bardini. With the sun shining brightly in the sky above, I walked along the Arno and across Ponte alle Grazie. Just one small block from the ponte (bridge) is the entrance to the giardino (garden). After entering the building, I headed up the steps to the giardino where the lush green grass showed off the colorful irises and other flowers, birds were chirping, and a handful of tourists were wandering around to take in the views of the city.

Living in Florence :: Giardino Bardini for a relaxing stroll

After my trip last weekend to the countryside near San Gimigniano, I've been wanting to get closer to nature. I can see the giardino from our apartment windows and had seen the glicine (wisteria) in the trellis covering a long downhill walkway.

I strolled around the giardino by walking down different paths, letting any flowers, trees, fountains, and views direct me to where I should go next. I took numerous photos of everything that caught my eye. I smiled when I arrived at a clearing and saw so many monuments laid out in front of me: the Duomo, Santa Croce, Palazzo Vecchio, and the turchoise dome of the synagogue. They looked as if someone came along and sprinkled them around the city that is full of pastel and light-colored buildings with terra cotta rooftops.

In the distance I saw the green colline (hills) of Fiesole. I wish I knew how to name all the shades of green that I saw, but I feel that I wouldn't even be able to do them justice. There were darker shades and lighter shades mingling with brighter and more muted shades of green.

For the first time, I sat alone up at the café under the loggia to take in the view. One waitress was taking the orders and handing us our food and drinks. I was fortunate enough to sit at the best spot just above the two statues of a man and woman, shown in the photo, joined by a low metal gate that leads to the cured garden down the slope of the hill.

I look down to the lungarno and via dei Benci where cars appear as if they are gliding down the street. I can hear the city humming softly in the background with its usual noises of cars, crowds, and motorini (scooters).

A cool breeze carries the smell of the blossoming flowers, trees, and grass as I sit in the shady loggia. Nature has a soft scent that eases the heart and mind. I peer at the serene water in the Arno, showing the reflection of the buildings alongside it.

To exit the giardino, I walk down the path through the tunnel di glicini e ortensie (wisteria and hydrangea tunnel). It is definitely the highlight of the giardino right now because the glicini are in bloom. When I arrive below one of the restricted areas toward the two statues, I peer up at the green grass where azaleas and irises add their splash of color.

I love the feeling of being in the city, but also outside of it at the same time. To feel the energy of it, and yet be in a serene environment. I'm so fortunate to have such a beautiful giardino so close to our place where I can walk around and take in its beauty whenever I feel like it. Every time I walk out I feel as if I have been recharged. When I look at the giardino from my desk, it certainly makes me smile. However, it is so much more enjoyable when I am strolling around inside it where all my senses are stimulated.

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