Travel Tips for Tuscany: The Giardino Bardini in Florence
Sleeping Beauty awakened from her slumber
The Giardino Bardini extends over an area of four acres, overlooking the banks of River Arno between Piazzale Michelangelo and the Boboli Gardens. While the latter have been prime attractions already for centuries, the Giardino Bardini was reopened only in 2005.
A garden with a turbulent history
In the era of Renaissance the medieval garden of the noble family Mozzi was transformed into a pleasure garden. Over the course of the centuries it received ever new design elements such as a long baroque staircase, caves, temples and sculptures. Small woods with winding paths, a meandering creek and various fountains were created in the 19th century, in the then popular style of an English garden. Of course there was also a small "Kaffeehaus", so that the refined ladies and gentlemen of Florentine society could freshen up after a stroll in the park and enjoy the view.
In the 20th century, the antique dealer Bardini bought the garden and did extensive restoration work. The garden had its last heyday for the time being. After Bardini's death the garden including the associated Villa fell into a nearly 50-year slumber. The luxuriant vegetation started to cover up all the ornate staircases and balustrades, sculptures and fountains. Old pictures of the garden made me think of the fairy tale castle of "Sleeping Beauty".
Only in the year 2000 - the garden in the meantime had become the possession of the city of Florence - began the extensive renovation work. Since 2005, the garden together with the Villa Bardini, which houses an art and a costume gallery, is again open to the public. Oh, and the "Kaffeehaus" of course has opened again, but only in the summer ...