The Giardino Bardini is a beautiful Italian Renaissance garden of the Villa Bardini in the hilly part of Oltrarno (the other side of the Arno). Opened only recently to the public, it is one of Florence’s well-kept secrets and one I am so excited to share with you!

The splendid location over Florence gave the Villa its original name, “Villa Belvedere”. Villa Bardini today brings to mind the “Casini di Delizia” developed as relaxation homes around Florence between the end of the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries. These homes were traditionally surrounded by expansive tracts of land serving agricultural and ornamental purposes. They were created to be beautiful sanctuaries and we can see why! 🤩

Tracing its history back to medieval times, the Bardini Garden belonged to a series of wealthy families. Originally constructed for agricultural purposes, it was transformed over the course of the centuries into a splendid Italianate garden. In the beginning of the 1900’s it was used by Stefano Bardini (known as the “prince of the antiquarians”) as an impressive setting to entertain his well-to-do clientele.

The Bardini Garden is comprised of three styles of gardens representing different eras:

  • The Italianate Garden, with the magnificent baroque staircase;
  • The English Garden which, with its exotic elements, represents a rare example of an Anglo-Chinese landscaping;
  • The Agricultural Park in which an orchard and the iconic wisteria pergola are located.

Wisteria is one of the most fascinating plants found in nature, and makes this a favorite spots for visitors to the Bardini Garden. The famed pergola transports viewers into a small overhang that provides magnificent and romantic views of the city and its surroundings.

Like the Garden and the Villa Bardini, this flower carries with it an ancient story and a far-away provenance: it is told that wisteria was brought as a rarity from China by Marco Polo, with official records marking its arrival to Italy in the early 1700s.

The most remarkable feature of this plant is its capacity to grow in a rapid, intense and constant rate with electric colors in its first spring flowering. From lilac to violet, from a blue mauve to tinged-with-pink, the spectacle of the flowering of the wisteria can be admired at the Bardini Garden in spring, between the months of April to May. So if you are in Florence in spring do find time for this, it’s simply stunning!

The Bardini Garden, thanks to the Fondazione Parchi Monumentali Bardini Peyron and the Fondazione CR Firenze has been beautifully restored over the last decade and it is just one of my favorite places. It’s a great place to come to spend the morning, I actually love the little bar they have up there (which also serves wine and some bites too!). My husband and I had a wonderful time just wandering the garden and having fun taking photos. We love it for a lifestyle or engagement session (and actually we took photos there ourselves a few years back with Facibeni photography (see below)!). It is only about 6 euro for a ticket in, and so far the massive crowds in Florence haven’t reached the garden as much as other places so enjoy!

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