by Melinda Gallo

From one garden to another

For the past couple of days I have felt a desire to be around nature. I love the city with its stony roads, concrete buildings, marble fašades, and the ever-changing Arno. After visiting the city and its celebrated museums with my sister, I felt an almost physical need to go to the Giardino Bardini, just across the river from our place. Not only is it the closest giardini (gardens) to our apartment, but it's also the most serene one that I enjoy visiting on my own. I also find it quite picturesque, which is why I always go with my macchina fotografica (camera) in hand.

Living in Florence :: From one garden to another

This morning when I walked across the Arno, the sun was out accompanied by a a strong breeze that quickly lowered the temperatures so much that I had to button up my sweater. The weather has cooled down quite significantly since the beginning of the week when it was so hot that we had to turn on the aria condizionata (air conditioner) at home.

The woman who worked at the ingresso (entrance) of the giardini was standing outside when I walked up. She handed me my free ticket after seeing my Amici degli Uffizi tessera (card) and checking my carta d'identitÓ (identity card). I walked through the building and up the path that leads through the giardini. I head straight for the steps that lead to the plateau under the larger set of steps. I love looking at the two statues at the top of the stone stairway. It always looks as if they are touching the sky.

The winding gravel paths lead me through the giardini. I haven't come across anyone yet on the path, but I see two women strolling up another path and chatting. I hear the birds chirping gleefully above my head. I look up and see them flying freely in circles.

When I came the last time there were so many flowers and trees in bloom, but this time the only flowers I see are pink roses clustered in large groups on a bed of green grass. As I'm walking through the wooded paths in the giardini, I see a large terra cotta vase, about six-feet wide, that contains white flowers shining in the sun like a beacon.

I especially love the fountains all aroundŚboth big and small. The trickling of water adds to the peaceful surroundings. While walking along the path, I often catch myself looking out at the city below. Each church, torre (tower), and monument brings a smile to my face. I enjoy seeing the city from different angles as if I can take in more of it to better appreciate it.

My macchina fotografica is hanging around my neck so I can be ready to capture all the beauty I notice. I never tire of the giardini and am happy to snap more pictures for my own personal enjoyment. I am fond of the shadows that the morning sun casts, making the giardini appear even more serene.

I take a couple of pictures on way through the giardini. After I reach the gravel plateau where a few people are enjoying a morning coffee under the loggia, I decide to walk over to Giardino di Boboli. I exit the Giardino Bardini, walk along a narrow residential street, past Forte Belevedere, and over to the entrata of the Giardino di Boboli where I flash my ticket to get inside.

Because I was already at the top of the giardini, I decided to walk toward the Rose Garden that faces the countryside and my favorite chiesa (church), San Miniato.

There are more people in the Giardino di Boboli walking around and taking photos. I walk through rather quickly because it doesn't feel as serene as the Giardino Bardini. I walk down the steps to the large fountain where two policemen on horseback are patrolling the park.

I walk outside of the Giardino di Boboli and walk to Mama's Bakery for a morning treat. Because the ticket is for the full day, I'm allowed to walk in and out of the giardini as I'd like. I wanted to go to the passaggio (pathway) that is open for the Mostra dei Cristalli at La Specola. I had tried to go through it the last time, but was told I needed a ticket to the Giardino di Boboli.

With my ticket in hand, I walked to the gate where a man told me that I'm not allowed to go through because there is no metaldector at the entrata. He directed me to walk down via Romana to the other entrata and then walk through the passaggio. When I got inside the Giardino di Boboli, I saw an open gate and recognized the building where La Specola is located.

For some reason, I had assumed that the passaggio would be long and enchanting. Instead, I walked through an austere giardino whose gravel path was only about 40-feet long. When I saw the man I had spoke to on the other side, I was a little disappointed.

I walked through the Giardino di Boboli and searched for a shortcut to get out because I had lunch plans. I saw people walk out of a door of the Palazzo Pitti, so I walked up the steps and went inside. It was the Galleria d'Arte Moderna e del Costume. I quickly walked through it and looped around to finally get to the exit. I didn't look around much because I visited the museum last year, and was also in a hurry.

When I finally arrived outside of Piazza Pitti, I felt happy to have visited the two giardini. The next time, I might not even go to Giardino di Boboli because I still find Giardino Bardini such a treasure that I'd like to stay there much longer. It's a relaxing oasis in the city!

NOTE: I have posted more photos that I took of the two giardini on my blog's FaceBook page.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!