In this city of grey stone, narrow streets and a certain grim Medieval formality, green spaces are magnets for sunloving travelers and residents of Florence. Most famous of all are the enormous formal gardens behind and above the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens. This park gives credence to the idea of architecture and landscape design as being the cinema of the Renaissance. But what a slow cinematography it is -- here you see vistas and grand scale living landscapes that were imagined beginning in 1550-- what visionaries those artists were, planting the trees and laying out the pathways for visual treats that are still evolving 4 and half centuries later. (Look quite carefully at the photo above -- those are people at the far end of the path, and this gives a pretty good idea of what the scale of the gardens encompass.) For a visual tour, see this website, too. We barely walked a few paths before succumbing to the rustle of leaves, the splash of Neptune's fountain and the shade of a tree perfectly proportioned to appear in a child's garden drawing
Even the little pockets of green behind tall walls of villas, and city parks in areas beyond the historic center were particularly welcome to this country dweller. Window boxes added notes of nature that softened the edges and gave one's eyes a rest. Urns that a gardener friend informs me cost thousands of dollars here in the U.S. were strewn here and there in unexpected places. We toured a private garden one day -- and I was always on the lookout for florists shops and window planters.