Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Boboli Gardens (or The Medici Family Strikes Again)

The Boboli Gardens in Firenze are an exquisite site to behold.  They are located behind the Pitti Palace, which served as the main seat of the Medici grand dukes of Tuscany at Florence.  The Boboli Gardens were created in the 16th century at the orders of Cosimo I de’ Medici for his wife, Eleonora di Toledo.  The Medici family have quite a few sights stamped with their name, but in my opinion, this is one of their neatest.  We walked through their seemingly-never-ending mazes for over an hour and hardly scratched their surface.

I found this row of animal head-shaped carvings particularly interesting.  Originally they were fountains used to attract birds to the area next to it.  The area next to it, a ragnaia, had nets in which the birds would get trapped, where they would then become hunting game for the Medici family and their guests.

 The grottos throughout the gardens were absolutely beautiful.  This large one I enjoyed particularly.  Rock formations from the walls and portray scenes of farm animals, people tending to their animals, and landscapes, creating gray, rocky scenes that look as if from a dream.  In a room adjoining the first room of the grotto, a cylindrical-shaped wall surrounds a statue of a woman in a shy pose.  Softly-painted frescoes adorn her surrounding walls and depict trees, with a ceiling housing woodland creatures.

 Fun fact: In English, we derive the word "grotesque" from “grotto.”

-Macy Hicks

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