The Bardini garden is one of the most exquisite in Florence. It forms part of a sort of ‘green-chain walk’ in the city and can be included when buying a ticket for the Pitti palace. I’ve done this route several times with friends and the advantage is that it does distract the visitor from the multitudes of crowds now infesting the often narrow and mediaeval streets of Florence’s centre.
Extending from near the banks of the Arno towards Piazzale Michelangelo it boasts every type of garden planning from Renaissance to Baroque to Victorian and is lovely at any season of the year most particularly, of course, in spring. The views are superlative, among the best in Florence.
The origins of the Giardino Bardini, which is located on the hill known as Montecuccoli, date back to mediaeval times when it belonged to the Mozzi family. In 1880 Le Blanc bought the garden and its villa, transforming the whole area into a characteristic English garden with lawns and ‘winding mossy ways’. He also had the Kaffeenhaus built where today one can have a slightly expensive caffé.
In 1913 Stefano Bardini, the aristocratic visitor’s favoured wheeler-dealer in antiques and paintings (his Museo Bardini, now beautifully arranged, shows off the collection) became the owner of the garden and restored many of its features, adding some of his own
When Stefano died the property passed to his son Ugo who expired without heirs in 1965. Byzantine legal cases then followed, centred on who should inherit what. Finally thirty one (!) years later the courts decided to award the property to the city of Florence according to Ugo’s original intentions. (No wonder there are so many decaying palaces in Italy – in many cases it’s issues of heredity which have caused their atrophic state.)
By 1996 the garden was in a sorry state but, thanks to private and corporate benefactors, it was opened to the public in 2000.
All these photographs date from our visit there exactly ten years ago today. The garden is, perhaps, even more resplendent now since restoration is still continuing apace.