by Melinda Gallo

Enjoying the gardens in Florence

As soon as I set foot on the narrow path in the Giardino Bardini, I feel a sense of tranquility come over me. While the gravel crunches under my feet, the hum of the city begins to fade. I take the shortcut to the top by hiking up the steps in the middle section of the gardens. At the top of the staircase, I see the two statues on the terrace wall. Instead of walking through the gardens on the right, I turn left and walk up the incline. I feel a sense of excitement as I stroll through the tunnel of purple and pink wisteria that has just started hanging down. When I reach the top, I look out at Florence and can only hear the birds chirping and the church bells ringing in the distance.

Living in Florence :: Enjoying the gardens in Florence

Living in Florence, I can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the crowds, the noise, and the traffic. Florence is a small, yet intense, city that doesnít allow much of a buffer between the outside conditions and me. Even when my apartment windows are closed, the sounds of the city drift inside. I can hear people talking (sometimes loudly) in the street below, cars honking as they try to get by in the piazza, scooters zipping around the corner, and garbage trucks emptying the bins. To find some respite, I visit Florenceís gardens.

One of the greatest perks of living in Florence is that access to the cityís gardens is free. Lately, Iíve been visiting at least one garden a day. If I donít have time to go to the Bardini Gardens or the Boboli Gardens, I pass through the Giardino delle Rose, which is free for everyone. Next week, Iíll be able to visit the Giardino dellíIris, which is open only for a few weeks a year.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Enjoying the gardens in Florence For a quick break from the city, I walk through the Giardino delle Rose. On the days I run up to Piazzale Michelangiolo, I treat myself to a walk through this garden to literally smell the roses (which are beginning to bloom). A couple of weeks ago, there werenít any buds on the rosebushes and now there are with a few that have already opened up.

At other times, I go to the Bardini Gardens to immerse myself in nature and bask in its tranquility. Itís also one of my favorite places to write because it is less crowded. I save the Boboli Gardens for when I have more free time. I particularly love walking up to the Giardino del Cavaliere as well as down the viottolone (large tree-lined avenue) toward the Porta Romana exit. Whenever I am in the Boboli Gardens, I feel as if I am far from my beloved city in the Tuscan countryside.

I never appreciated gardens this much until I moved to Florence. I donít just go because I love the gardens, but because I need to connect with nature more now. What I love most is immersing myself in the gardens so that I am surrounded by flowers and trees and can still admire Florence in the distance.

Once I exit the garden and walk down the sidewalk, I continue to feel a strong sense of peacefulness and enthusiasm inside of me. Even though I didnít stay in the garden that long, the change of scenery definitely revitalized me. What pleases me the most about visiting the gardens in Florence is that Iím able to commune with nature while not having to leave my beloved city.

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