Favorite Place in Florence: Free views at the Horticulture Garden

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The loggia at Florence's Horticulture Garden. Photos by Laura Mongillo.
The loggia at Florence's Horticulture Garden. Photos by Laura Mongillo.

Florence is an amazing city that has it all … well, almost. One thing missing from this city is green space. There are many piazzas and small gardens, but central  Florence is void of real open, green space.

Luckily, the Giardino dell’Orticultura (Horiculture Gaden) offers some much-needed greenery not far from the city center. So let me share one of my favorite spots, where you not only get some open space, but you also get a great view of the city you left behind. As an added bonus, all this beauty is available for free!

The 19th-century greenhouse

The 19th-century greenhouse

Florence underwent a huge transformation in the late 19th century. The city was modernized with grand boulevards, large open piazzas and equestrian statues. During the same period, this park was created to reserve a space for expositions of exotic plant life.

Nowadays the plants aren’t so exotic, but there are still fields of daisies sprinkled in the green grass. The area is divided into two sections by the unfortunate placement of the railroad. The lower section includes large fountains, small fields, benches, a small playground and a 19th-century replica of a traditional Italian “loggia” (a covered open-air pavilion with decorated arches).

The dragon fountain

The dragon fountain

The most impressive feature of this garden is the greenhouse, made entirely of glass and shining metal. It is currently (as of April 2010) being restored to its former glory, though it is still visible. It’s an especially lovely sight when the sun is shining.

The upper section of the garden is accessible by a bridge running over the train tracks. (You can also access it from farther up the hill on Via Trieste.) This section is situated on an incline, and the height offers great views of the city.

As you climb the stairs, take a good look at the dragon fountain made of pieces of glass, stone and bottles. (It brings to mind a similar fountain by Gaudì at the Parc Guëll in Barcelona.) Once you reach the top, you’ll find benches where you can relax and really enjoy the view and the fresh air. This is one of my favorite spots in Florence, so it’s worth the trip to check it out!

The view from the top

The view from the top

Giardino dell’Orticultura (Horticulture Garden)
Address: Via Bolognese near Ponte Rosso
Transportation: #25 bus (from Piazza San Marco to Pratolino) or on foot from Piazza della Libertà

About the author

Laura Mongillo

About the author: Laura Mongillo holds an Undergraduate and Masters degree in Italian Studies from NYU and has been living in Florence, Italy for three years.

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