Thursday, July 21, 2011

Festa di San Giovanni - Boboli Gardens

After the parade I walked across the Arno. The breeze by the river was lovely and I decided to hike it to the Boboli Gardens to rest and recuperate among nature.

It was lovely to be able to walk and observe the city's tableaus. I really loved this one. It is a local church and there was a group of women of varying ages sitting in the courtyard for a nice afternoon chat.

I also saw this balloon installation, the meaning of which I am still not sure. It was in a piazza just to the side of the Ponte Vecchio along the Arno. On four sides were clumps of balloons and the statue in the center of the square was holding some of them. Just beyond it on the side of the building is a sign by the street artist that I've mentioned once before and on the other side on the right is another of his works (the angel which I'll show in another post).

The print on the balloons reminds me of his work, but that may very well be coincidence.

This totally cracked me up! I love the Mario Bros franchise, so I thought oh hey, there's Mario and then realized that he was being used to advertise professional training programs in plumbing to Florentines. LOL. The Mario and Luigi school of Hydrualic Electricians is calling.... Saving princesses to follow.... :)

Chuckling and then moving on, I stopped for some water at my favorite cheapo grocery and then headed to the Boboli. My Amici card means that I get free admission and this late in the day, when the museum is already closed, the crowds thin out and it is a wonder for relaxing. That, and the light was pretty for taking some pictures:

Being on higher ground, areas of the Boboli have fantastic views. Here's the first clear one that I caught of the Duomo.

The Pitti Palace! 

Hiking up one of the hilly paths.

A view of the city beyond the Boboli. You can see the Duomo Companile (to the right), the dome of San Lorenzo in the background (to its left).

View of the city and garden. 

Here is a closer zoom of San Lorenzo.

The trees of the Boboli, and a view across the Arno. You can see the buildings lining the river. In the background near the hills you can see the city's new Tribunale, which my taxi driver had explained to me about on my first ride into the city.

One of the wonders of the gardens is walking up and up with the purpose of finally finding an unobstructed view of the city and feeling happy when you do.

Santa Maria del Fiore from among the trees.

It was great to be able to be high enough to see the choirs and the shape of the building clearly. It is majestic.

The statue at the top of the central gallery. This is the second, if not third image, I have seen that is very, very similar to our famous lady liberty. It makes me wonder more about the relationship between Italy and France and the interchange of their respective cultures. The gardens themselves remind me of Versailles and I plan to ask about the influences of the Boboli at our lecture on the Pitti Palace and Cosimo Primo.

Fresh breeze. Sweet air. Quiet. Peace. Being here was heaven!

It helped also that the aesthetics of the garden were clearly designed to please and relax the mind.

I walked further uphill to an area in the back of the gardens. There were roses here and gravel paths that bordered the edge of the walls. Raised above the hillside, the gardens are supported by massive stone walls and because of this, the paths bordering the wall edges were sectioned off. But needless to say, for the sake of photography and the lack of guards, yours truly hopped the minor blockade:

Behind the Boboli are gorgeous villas with olive groves. Beyond this property on the left between the cypress trees you can see the facade of San Miniato.

The countryside.

The villa with the olive grove

The city to the right and the countryside beyond:

This is one of the Medieval walls of the city that is still in place. The ones in the center of the city that once surrounded the medieval quarters were demolished when Florence briefly became the capital of Italy and the thick walls made space for wide avenues to allow traffic passage.

A cat. One of several I've seen here so far. Will say more about this later.

This statue is amazing! It actually has a match outside of the Pitti Palace of which I will try to snap a picture.

I loved this one as well. It's clearly contemporary, but within the aesthetics of the Boboli and the return to Classical traditions for which the city is famous. The contemporary interpretation of the Greek and Roman sculpture is fantastic. I also love the way in which the statue was placed and how the statue seems to be wearing the trees behind it as hair.

As the shadows grew longer and my feet grew even more tired I decided to head back home. With San Lorenzo quite far in the distance....

Leaving the Boboli

A cat sleeping in the gift shop. I found out later in the lecture we had at the garden that there are hundreds of cats in the Boboli Gardens. Apparently, this is one of the places in the city which tends them and because it has the reputation of doing so, people who can no longer care for their cats drop theirs off. They are fed and taken care of and all the ones that I met were quite sweet!

Goodbye the heights of the Boboli, hello long walk home.

Before leaving the Boboli I walked by the Medici Grotto, one of several on the estate.

Detail of the Grotto

Detail of the Medici crest and relief sculpture. The grotto was unfortunately closed to visitors. Maybe another time!

1 comment:

  1. This is all very fascinating! I stumbled upon your picture while I was searching the web for the Medici Grotto. Very nice pictures. Hope that one day I will het to visit the gardens myself.