Sunday, July 17, 2005

Giardino di Boboli

Giardino di Boboli, Firenze (Florence), Italy
(Click picture for larger view)
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"This is the fairest picture on our planet, the most enchanting to look upon, the most satisfying to the eye and spirit. To see the sun sink down, drowned in his pink and purple and golden floods, and overwhelm Florence with tides of color that make all the sharp lines dim and faint and turn the solid city to a city of dreams, is a sight to stir the coldest nature, and make a sympathetic one drunk with ecstasy." ~ Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Giardino di Boboli, Boboli Gardens, located behind the Palazzo Pitti, cover more than 100 acres of land in Florence. It is considered one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy. Owned and built by the wealthy Medici family around 1550, it houses miles of arbor covered narrow lanes separating shaded grassy lawns with stone benches. These are mixed with wide grand walkways, the largest, Cypress Way steep with hundreds of small steps to the top and lined with marble statues of mythical gods mingled with those of Biblical characters. Large grottos are being restored; La Grotta Grande contains The Four Prisoners, sculptured works of Michelangelo, within its walls. Fountains abound including those on the Little Island (L'Isolotto) pictured above. Found at the foot of the Cypress Way, it is a fountain pond with central island of lemon trees and sculpture including Giovanni da Bologna's statue of Oceanus. At the very top is a breathtaking view of Firenze, the city of Florence and on down the hill sits a large natural amphitheater where the first performances of opera in Florence were held.

These gardens are extravagant and elegantly designed. The wealthy Medici family could leisurely stroll the many paths, rest beside the bubbling fountains and listen to private concerts in the amphitheater. Truly this was a luxurious, self-indulgent way of life.

Submission for Moody Monday topic "dolce vita".

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