8 must see parks in Florence

Published by: BouncePosted

Florence, the capital of the central Italian region of Tuscany, is one of the country’s primary artistic, cultural, and architectural locations. It’s known for its astonishing Renaissance art and architecture, history, and role in the Middle Ages but is often overlooked as a destination with awe-inspiring natural wonders. Florence is not just about majestic palazzos, churches, and world-class art museums; it also boasts pristine hiking trails, rolling hills, vineyards, and vast green spaces.

Before you venture out, let’s begin our adventure at the beautiful parks in Florence and other natural attractions like gardens and hillside spots with panoramic city views. They are havens of calm amid the flurry of city life, allowing both locals and visitors to unwind and engage with nature. They’re also a community hub with numerous activities and facilities for exercise, picnics, recreation, and fun.

The last thing you want when you’re out and about is to carry stuff that could limit your activity or slow your pace. If you found a nice spot to rest or stroll but are burdened by your shopping bags or backpack, why not store them in a luggage storage facility in Florence? Download the Bounce app to find a safe place to store your belongings near your favorite Florence park.

Parco delle Cascine

What better way to spend your day than to tour Florence’s largest green space? Parco delle Cascine is nestled on the right bank of the Arno River and covers an area of approximately 130 hectares. It was named after the farmsteads that once stood on its site centuries ago and transformed into an urban park accessible to the public since the Napoleonic era.

Today, Parco delle Cascine serves as the green heart of Florence, with vast lawns for sports, avenues, and paths for walking and jogging. You’ll also spot many bird species and rich vegetation, so don’t forget to bring your camera when exploring the park. It’s only a stone’s throw from the city center, so you’re close to all the city thrills and actions but far enough to enjoy quiet strolls and relaxation.

This public park has an array of sports facilities for older visitors, including a cycle track, a racecourse, skeet shooting, archery, a golf club, an equestrian center, and a swimming pool. It's bustling with life on Tuesdays as ‘Le Cascine’ becomes the city’s biggest open-air market. Vendors sell everything from food and clothes to household items and souvenirs. It’s a great place to shop and pick up a few gifts and unique things to bring home.

Giardino delle Rose

No trip to Florence is complete without visiting the famed Rose Garden. It’s a quiet terraced garden in the heart of the city, located in Viale Giuseppe Poggi, just a few steps from Piazza Michelangelo. If you’re looking for remarkable views and a romantic promenade surrounded by vibrant roses, stop by Giardino delle Rose.

Although the Rose Garden is open daily until sunset throughout the year, spring and summer are the best times to visit to witness the burst of colors as vibrant roses of about 400 varieties bloom and release a pleasant aroma. It was established in 1865 by the Italian architect Giuseppe Poggi, who also designed the Piazzale. The garden was built based on a French model with a bucolic natural setting but was streamlined to adhere to the Italian style.

Many elements have been added to the Rose Garden, including a few works of art. It now has a dozen bronze sculptures by Jean-Michel Folon, a Belgian painter and sculptor. His widow donated the sculptures to the city of Florence, adding character to the park. The garden also gained a Japanese Shorai oasis, which was presented in 1998 by the Japanese architect Yasuo Kitayama. With different rose varieties, a Japanese garden, an incredible panorama, and fascinating art pieces, Giardino delle Rose is a must-visit park in Florence.

Parco di Villa Fabbricotti

A short drive from the historic center will take you to Parco di Villa Fabbricotti, a tranquil park away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s probably one of Florence’s hidden gems, but it will surprise you once you experience all it offers. It has diverse flora and fauna and benches for quick breaks or if you want to relax. Entry is free, so if you’re in the area, stop by and spend time in the middle of nature.

Villa Fabbricotti is a perfect example of an English park with several Romantic elements. These include a small circular neoclassical-style structure with a domed roof, a vast, well-manicured lawn, a small Pantheon-style chapel, and garden areas connected by walkways. It’s also embellished with sculptures, shrubs, flowers, and fountains.

The park’s most prominent feature is the luxurious villa sitting atop a terraced hill. On the terrace of Parco di Villa Fabbricotti are two stone lions on each side of the ramp. The Villa hosted some important people, including Queen Victoria of England in 1894 and Napoleon’s sisters Paolina and Elisa. As you wander the park, you can imagine them strolling along the tree-lined paths or hanging out at the neoclassical temple. Visit this park as one of the best free things to do in Florence.

Giardino del Museo Stibbert

Combine history and nature experiences by touring the Stibbert Museum Garden. From a simple Italian garden, Giardino del Museo Stibbert was transformed into a charming English garden with fountains, rock caves, and temples. It also features a neoclassical greenhouse for tropical fruit trees, lemon, and orange, a Hellenistic temple, and a dome covered with majolica tiles.

Since the garden is on the grounds of the museum, you can first go to the Stibbert Museum and marvel at the collection of arms, armory, costumes, ceramics, furniture, tapestries, paintings, liturgical objects, musical instruments, archaeological items, and other artifacts. It boasts a collection of 50,000 items, most of which are on display. Everything is well organized and categorized, so you know what you’re looking at. It’s a family-friendly museum where kids will enjoy being up close to real armor and costumes.

After touring the museum, stick around and explore the garden. If it’s too hot for a stroll, you can sit on the grass and chill under the shade of tall trees. Visit the Egyptian temple in the lower garden by the lake and see animals roaming freely. If you still have time, right beside the museum is a small garden park in Florence called Giardino Baden Powell.

Giardino di Boboli

Right behind the enormous Pitti Palace is a beautiful garden you should add to your bucket list when visiting Florence. The marvelous Boboli Gardens is where nature, science, and art meet, with plenty to offer residents and tourists. It’s a perfect example of ‘green architecture’ enhanced by sculptures and fountains. It provides an oasis of calm from the city noise and is one of Florence’s finest open-air museums.

The Boboli Gardens are more than just a green space in the city. It’s one of the world’s best-known gardens, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site created and developed in a span of 400 years between the 15th and 19th centuries. Several stages of restructuring and enlargement work have been carried out at different periods to achieve its current look.

Besides the flowers, plants, and grassy areas, this nearly 75-acre garden features a historical amphitheater, grottoes, statues, decorative ponds, and fountains. While it remains alluring any time of the year, the best time to visit is from April to May and September to October when flowers are in full bloom. It’s perfect for photography, sightseeing, walking, and meditation. There are many stairs, pebbled trails, and hills, so wear comfortable shoes and lighten your load by storing your bag safely near Boboli Gardens.

Giardino della Gherardesca

The Gherardesca Garden is the largest public garden in the historic center of Florence, covering an area of 4.5 hectares along the right bank of the river Arno. Its origin started in the latter part of the fifteenth century when Giuliano da Sangallo was assigned to design Bartolomeo Scala’s palace, which included the garden. Then, the Medici family obtained ownership of the park. A member of the Medici family, Constanza de Medici became the property owner and married Count Guido Alberto della Gherardesca, where the garden’s name came from.

Gherardesca Garden had a classic feature with a nursery, a special grove, and a vegetable area. Today, it is enriched with a neoclassic temple and a statue of Camillio della Gherardesca. Its west area used to be a part of the Capponcina convent building, with its Italian style featuring a huge arch with spongy décor and geometric flower beds. The garden now provides a garden setting for the five-star Four Seasons Hotel in Florence.

Giardino dell'Iris

Nestled on the corner between Piazzale Michaelangelo and Viale dei Colli is the stunning Iris Garden. It was constructed in 1954 as a show garden for the city’s first International Iris Competition, now an annual event in Florence. It’s the only botanical garden in Europe dedicated to this flower variety. Florence has always had a long-standing link with the iris throughout its history, so it’s no surprise that its emblem includes an iris.

Inaugurated in 1957, the Iris Garden was set on hilly land with tall olive trees. The creators used rose bushes and shrubs to emphasize the driveways and paths, but throughout the garden grounds are numerous iris plants in different colors and shapes. When in full bloom, it becomes a carpet of colorful irises you won’t find anywhere else in the city.

The collections of irises in the garden vary. Some are historic and ancient irises from the Presby Memorial Garden in Montclair, New Jersey, and the Prague Botanical Garden, while others are plants that won first and second places from the first Iris Competition to the present day.

Since it’s unlike the typical parks in Florence, don’t expect to find picnic tables or play areas. Instead, you’ll find well-maintained lawns and sitting spots dotted on some corners of the garden.

Villa Park ‘The Fan’

If you want to enjoy a typical park experience where you can throw in a blanket for a picnic or take your kids to play in the playground, check out the Villa Park ‘The Fan.’ It’s a small park in Florence overlooking the city. It’s a lovely nature escape with well-kept green spaces and trees for shade on sunny days.

Watch the ravishing landscapes as you lay on the grass or stand on a viewpoint. It’s visited for its fascinating views of the city and the surroundings from different angles, which will enhance your experience. If you’re looking to stay active to boost your physical health, tackle one of the routes ideal for running, jogging, and walking.

You’ll rarely find a crowd, making it a wonderful spot for quiet contemplation. You can sit on the bench or the grass and read a book or entertain yourself by watching the turtles in the small pond. There’s a small circular area, concrete frills, and clean restrooms, which are a plus.

Visit unmissable Florence parks and nature escapes

Florence may be famous for being a city of art and culture and the Renaissance capital of Italy. However, within the city limits are glorious Italian landscapes and sprawling gardens that offer spectacular settings to escape the tourist crowds and reconnect with the environment. You don’t have to travel too far, as many gardens and parks in Florence are close to each other and near major attractions, like museums, art galleries, and imposing monuments.

If you’ve been to many of these places and have more time to do other things, read our guides on the best hikes in Florence and beaches near Florence. You’ll surely find fun ideas on where and how to spend your free time in the city.

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