When I first visited the Garzoni gardens at Collodi in 2001 they were a somewhat underwhelming sight. Unkempt flower beds, dishevelled lawns and unsafe paths did little to convince me that this was one of the world’s great gardens to be compared favourably with those of Hampton Court, Versailles and Schonbrunn.
Happily all has changed today in the magnificent gardens, dating back to the seventeenth century, thanks to new ownership and continuous restoration (and maintenance). We were enthralled by their baroque wonders so wonderfully sited on the steep slopes of the Pizzorne and cascading down in spectacular terraces with secret arbours, a maze, bamboo grove and mythological creatures.
There are plenty of birds in the gardens including this graceful Australian black swan.
On the right hand side of the gardens is the butterfly house and the standard ticket gives one access to both this and the gardens (there is also a comprehensive ticket which allows access to the Pinocchio garden nearby.)
I found the butterfly house delightful although I am certainly not a lepidopterist and find the idea of pinning down specimens of this wonderful insect distasteful.
The palace itself remains closed although much restoration has been done on it. Judging from photographs of its state rooms it looks very impressive. I hope on our next visit that it will finally be open to the public.
We couldn’t leave Collodi without seeing the old village itself. It must have one of the steepest high streets in Tuscany!
The parish church at the top is charming and the oratory nearby had a photographic exhibition.
It’s good to know that there is a lot more to Collodi than the long-nosed puppet that has become famous throughout the world although without Collodi Pinocchio probably would never have been born.
Further details at http://www.discovertuscany.com/the-pinocchio-park-in-collodi.html