This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘Boboli Gardens’

Buontalenti Grotto, Boboli Gardens, Florence

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 26, 2012

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

Bernardo Buontalenti, the 16th century Florentine stage designer and architect, was also known as Bernardo delle Girandole (Bernardo of the
Fireworks). Sounds like a fun guy! He worked for the Medicis all his life, designing costumes, sets, fireworks displays, palaces, and gardens.

His three-chambered Grotto Grande in the Boboli gardens was built between 1583 and 1588. The grotto is not always open to the public. Times are posted. When I was there it was unlocked every two hours, for about half an hour at a time. Photography is permitted but the darkness of the interior chambers and the presence of crowds make it a tricky site to photograph. We couldn’t go into the third chamber, so I photographed it over the barrier.

The niches on either side of the entrance hold statues of Apollo and Ceres.

The close-up of the facade, below, was taken the first day we visited the Boboli Gardens (hence, the overcast sky and bluish tones). The other photos were taken on our second visit (sunny day!), and we showed up at one of the times when the grotto was open.

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

The first chamber is very bright because it is illuminated by a circular opening  in the painted ceiling and a large window above the columns, as well as by the columned entrance itself.

The next two photos show the painted ceiling of the first chamber.

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

The first chamber has carved pastoral scenes, decorated with paint and embedded seashells, on the left and right walls.

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

The triangular opening in the back wall leads to the second chamber, containing Vincenzo de’ Rossi’s statue of Paris and Helena (1560).

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

The second chamber is much smaller than the first. It’s also quite dark and difficult to photograph. I had to brighten these photos (ISO 3200!) considerably to show the details.

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

The third chamber, which we couldn’t enter, contains Giambologna’s statue of the bathing Venus (1565).

Grotto Buontalenti, Boboli Gardens, Florence

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Three Grottoes in the Boboli Gardens, Florence

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 22, 2012

Boboli Gardens, Florence

The Boboli Gardens have several grottoes or man-made caves, besides the well-known Buontalenti Grotto, which I will cover in another posting. Of varying sizes, they are usually sculpted from stone to resemble natural stalactites, with elaborate ceilings decorated with shells and stone carvings.

The Annalena or  Adam and Eve Grotto is named after the statues by Michelangelo Naccharino. The grotto was created by Giuseppe Cacialli in 1817, making it the newest grotto in the Boboli.

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

The Moses Grotto, so called because the statue of Moses in the photo below (the porphyry statue that is higher than the others), was created by Raphael Curradi. The sculpture of Moses, however, was the work of Raphael Curradi and Cosimo Salvestrini.

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Ceiling of the Moses Grotto:

Boboli Gardens, Florence

The Grotto of Madama, also called the Grotto of Goats, was built by Buontalenti in 1570 to honour Joan of Austria, wife of Francesco I de’ Medici. The goat was one of the emblems of Cosimo I de Medici.

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

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Porcelain Museum, Boboli Gardens, Florence

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 22, 2012

Boboli Gardens, Florence

The Porcelain Museum, which houses porcelain from some of Europe’s best-known manufacturers (for example, Sèvres and Meissen), was moved to its present location, the Casino del Cavaliere, in 1973. Before the move the collection was part of the Treasury Museum in the main building of the Pitti Palace. Some pieces were gifts from European leaders to Florentine rulers while others were commissioned by the Grand Dukes of Florence. The Casino building was originally built as a retreat for one of the Grand Dukes and is located at the top of the hill, close to the wall surrounding the Boboli Gardens.

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Francois Gerard’s portrait of Napoleon, who used the palace as his base in the late 18th century, in his coronation robes:

Boboli Gardens, Florence

The photo below shows the original 13th century wall of the City of Florence. Most of the wall was destroyed in the 19th century. The only remnants are here and by Porte San Miniato. The area is surprisingly rural, with olive groves and fruit trees.

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

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Boboli Gardens, Florence

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 14, 2012

Pitti Palace, Florence

The Boboli Gardens are Florence’s most famous 16th century formal garden, stretching over the crest of a hill behind the Palazzo di Pitti. They were begun by the Medicis and show the work of many architects and designers, including Bartolomeo Ammanati, Giorgio Vasari and Bernardo Buontalenti. Most of the sculptures (copies, actually) date between the 16th and 18th century, with a few old Roman ruins. The photo above was taken along the main axis of the garden, overlooking the Neptune Pond towards the back of the Palazzo di Pitti.

The photo below was taken looking in the opposite direction, towards the Egyptian obelisk, brought from the Villa Medici in Rome. We spent two afternoons walking around the gardens, which is why the lighting conditions are so different in these photos.

Pitti Palace, Florence

Neptune Fountain, also called, irreverently, the Fountain of the Fork.

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Catfish in the Neptune fountain. They aren’t very photogenic but this one was an exception.

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

View from the Boboli Gardens towards the north side of the Arno. The red dome is the Medici Chapel by San Lorenzo.

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

When you climb all the way to the top of the south axis of the garden, you turn 90 degrees towards the longest section, the west axis. Yes, it IS as long as it looks. You need good shoes and strong legs if you want to see every part of this park. The Cypress Lane, below, terminates Isolotto’s Pond and the Island Park.

Cypress Lane, Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens, Florence

The last photos are of Isolotto’s Pond and the Island Park.

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Stork on balustrade of the Island Park.

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

Boboli Gardens, Florence

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