Giardino di Boboli
Behind Palazzo Pitti lies the wonderful Boboli Gardens. The Medici first took care of the arrangement, creating the model of Italian garden that became exemplary for many European courts. The vast green area is divided into a regular, is a real open-air museum, populated with ancient and Renaissance statues, decorated with caves, first of all the famous one made by Bernardo Buontalenti, and large fountains, such as that of Neptune and Ocean. The successive Lorraine and Savoy dynasties further enriched the structure, widening the boundaries that border the ancient city walls up to Porta Romana. The terraced area of the eighteenth-century Kaffeehaus pavilion, a rare example of Rococo architecture in Tuscany or the Limonaia, built by Zanobi del Rosso between 1777 and 1778, is of considerable visual appeal.
Begun in 1549, designed by Niccolò Pericoli, known as the Tribolo, for the Duchess Eleonora of Toledo, the Boboli Gardens is one of the greatest examples of Italian gardens. It took shape on the slope of the hill behind it, which was subdivided geometrically arranging trees and flowerbeds in a regular and symmetrical manner. It was decided to start immediately the planting of hedges, trees, rare and wild plants and the construction of fountains, in a great ferment of ideas that would make Boboli one of the most significant gardens, worthy of a grand-ducal residence. Unfortunately Tribolo died shortly after and then the direction of the work passed to Bartolomeo Ammannati and later to Bernardo Buontalenti. Among the first important interventions was the realization of the Madama Cave, built from 1553 to 1555, with the intent to recreate naturalistic environments, populated by mysterious beings and stone animals. Between 1583 and 1593 took shape, under the direction of Bernardo Buontalenti, the great cave of Boboli, called Grotta del Buontalenti, built in place of a nursery designed by Vasari. The cave was created with great scenographic effect: limestone concretions in the form of stalactites, shells and terracotta reliefs, where the water that glided from the walls gave vivacity and color. In 1631 Giulio Parigi transformed the amphitheater from green architecture into masonry architecture and in the first half of the 18th century, the Egyptian obelisk arrived from Luxor through the Roman Medici collections and the Bath from the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. Upstream dominated the whole complex the Statue of Abundance, started by Giambologna and finished by Pietro Tacca. Under the Grand Dukes Cosimo II and Ferdinando II de 'Medici, the Garden was enlarged by Julius and Alfonso Paris, extending south, parallel to the Palace, within the circle of the walls. The director was given by a central avenue, the Viottolone, at the end of which Alfonso Parigi designed a large elliptical tank with a central islet, both populated by statues of fantastic and mythological figures; in the center of the island the monumental statue of the Giambologna Ocean was transported.