Sunday, May 11, 2008

Toscana Esclusiva – Firenze cortili e giardini aperti


We had heard that this happens once a year but it caught us by surprise: Toscana Esclusiva – Firenze cortili e giardini aperti. In a nutshell, one can see how the other ½ lives. Okay, less cynically, it means you get to enter for free into a number important palazzi and private villas. The event takes place in Florence and Fiesole on the 11th of May this year. Lucca, Pisa, and Siena open up their historical sites on the 18th, one week later. For details see Associazione Dimore Storiche Italiane.


When we walked by the first garden on the tour (Giardino Malenchini) and picked up the brochure, we knew we had to see as many as we could. The names and the buildings are so familiar to us by now that getting a chance to walk in through a gate and see the other side is a treat. In a city of walls and gates, like Florence, it can sometimes be frustrating that so much “seems” to be off limits. This is one time to explore even if it is for one day.

Travelmarx reviewed stops #1 through #14 on the attached map (the ones in our neighborhood). If some of the names sound like something you’ve seen on a wine bottle, the answer is you have: Frescobaldi, Torrigiani, and Antinori. The stops on the itinerary that are a definite stop if you should have the chance in the future are:



  • Giardino Malenchini, via de’Benci 1. It has a nice garden space that looks out on to the Arno. Satellite photo.

  • Palazzo Guicciardini, via Guicciardini 15. For being just steps away from the Palazzo Pitti and off the always crowded via Guicciardini this palazzo’s inner courtyard and garden is like in another world. Very nice. Satellite photo.

  • Palazzo Frescobaldi, via Santo Spirito 13. The garden is a huge open area with beautifully trained wisteria. As well, there are unusual views of the back of back of the church of Santo Spirito. Satellite photo.

  • Giardino pensile di Palazzo Guicciardini, via Santo Spirito 14. “pensile” means hanging or suspended as this garden is sort of suspended over the Arno on the south side. You enter the garden from the south and then climb a small hill to peek over the rail at the Arno. Satellite photo.

  • Giardino Torrigiani, via del Campuccio 53. Who doesn’t want to see this famous garden with the oddly shaped tower set in the middle of huge tract of land surrounded by high walls? Satellite photo.

  • Palazzo Corsini, Lungarno Corsini 10. No garden, but nice huge staircases and chandeliers to gawk at. Satellite photo.

  • Palazzo Antinori, Piazza Antinori 3. Nice little garden and courtyard with miniature models of the different estates that produce wine under this name. Satellite photo

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