Giardino dei Semplici: A paradise (not lost)

Giardino dei Semplici: A paradise (not lost)

The botanical garden is a green oasis, hidden in the city centre's urban cacophony.

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Tue 28 May 2024 3:04 PM

When in Florence, there’s no denying that every bit of green space in the city is to be cherished. This is certainly the case with the city’s Botanical Garden, Giardino dei Semplici, at via Pier Antonio Micheli 3. It forms part of the University of Florence’s museum complex, located a short distance from the stunning San Marco Basilica. 

Giardino dei Semplici. Ph. @marcobadiani

Walking into this living open-air museum is truly a marvel for the senses. Within just a few steps, the bustle of the city seems far away, as a shady pergola covered with climbing roses welcomes you into this Renaissance-style garden. At the end of a short, tree-lined path, a round fountain beguiles you with its gurgling, while water lilies gently disclose their pink-colored petals in its water. All around it, stone benches allow for a respite far from the madding crowd. The biodiversity is remarkable, from prehistoric ferns to edible plants, and medicinal and melliferous flora, around which students gather to study the intriguing life of bees

Giardino dei Semplici. Ph. @marcobadiani

Among the highlights of this place are undoubtedly the two 19th-century greenhouses, divided by temperature. Behind massive steel and glass doors, botanical marvels unfold: the warm greenhouse hosts a jaw-dropping array of tropical plants, the sound of dripping water accompanying you while you stand before a 10-meter tall monstera deliciosa, its aerial roots ramifying all around. Moving on through the lush green leaves of tropical species, you encounter the cold greenhouse, where succulent and carnivorous plants peek out from behind the numerous palms, which thrive in their vases and transport you to another time and place.

Orto Botanico Ph. Marco Badiani
Giardino dei Semplici. Ph. @marcobadiani

In the rejuvenating shade of a horse chestnut, four benches are strategically placed, one in front of the other, no doubt to encourage human connection. The people working here are gently strolling around while carrying on with their daily tasks, whether checking the health of the begonias inside the small greenhouses or moving the vases in which all sorts of citrus plants flourish. It makes one wonder about a life dedicated to observing things as they grow, and marveling at the beauty and power of creation.

The possibility to freely refill your water bottles at a dedicated station, as well as the option to bring your pet (on a leash), contributes to making this place a special natural retreat in the city that requires the utmost respect from all those who wish to visit and share in the desire to safeguard our most important treasure of all: our environment.

The Botanical Garden is part of the Firenzecard circuit, the official museum pass for the city of Florence, which brings special attention to the lesser-known but invaluable museums scattered around the city, which can make all the difference when trying to experience the off-the-beaten-track parts of Florence during your time in the city.

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