Italy  2011

June 8, 2011 Wednesday

After breakfast we are off to Florence on a day trip. We start at Piazzale Michelangelo, the famous square which boasts a fantastic view over the city of Florence and also the statue of David. This is one of three in the city. The way up to the square is very interesting also there are beautiful gardens and many examples of typical Tuscan flora such as the cypers (holy trees for the Etruscans), olive trees, oaks etc. There is also a beautiful old cathedral here, high on the hill, with the most interesting grave yard. We took the time to visit both the cathedral and the beautiful grave yard.

We met our Florentine English-speaking guide. After a short introduction we head downtown to visit what is now considered one of the most beautiful Italian gardens:

The Giardino Bardini is a Renaissance garden. Only opened recently to the public, it is relatively little-known and offers wonderful views of Florence from its 4 hectares of parkland between the left bank of the Arno River, Montecuccoli Hill and the mediaeval wall. In 2000, the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze (Florence Savings Bank), acting through the Fondazione Parchi Monumentali Bardini e Peyron (Bardini and Peyron Monumental
Parks Foundation), began the restoration of the complex.

It took almost five years to restore the garden's identity and wealth in terms of composition and plants. In the agricultural park, in which fruit trees in the Tuscan tradition have been planted, there is a circular viewpoint from which one enters a tunnel of wisteria and comes upon no less than 60 varieties of hydrangea. The baroque flight of steps is the most picturesque part of the garden, with its viewpoint over the city and the six fountains with their multi-material mosaic bottoms. Bourbon roses and irises have been planted along the flight of steps. In the lowest part there is a garden with herbaceous and graminaceous borders and the grassy theatre that makes use of a cavity in the garden. In the English-style wood, which formed part of the Anglo-Chinese garden, there is a lawn with azaleas where one can also see ferns, viburnum, camellias, and a collection of citrus fruits.

At the end of the visit at the gardens we enjoyed lunch and it had to be one of the most enjoyable meals, how could it not be with a view of all of Florence in front of you!

Before leaving the villa we take the chance to visit a very interesting small museum, whose collection is somehow nature related: THE ROBERTO CAPUCCI MUSEUM: Roberto Capucci was a 1950 prodigy. The name stands for internationally unrivalled women's fashion from Italy, blazing creativity and ability of the highest order. Calling his designs a "study in form" Capucci's work has always had an architectural quality that rejects the traditional silhouette. Using his mastery of textiles, color, and cut, he manipulates fabric to create gravity defying sculptural forms. His creations are extravagant and colourful and range from styling to art, architectonic fashion design, textile sculptures and works of art. Almost every collection is dominated by nature he said once: "Nature is my mentor" and this sentiment is clearly evident. From undulating hemlines that echo the ocean's waves to the meticulous recreation of swirling rose petals Capucci pays tribute to his muse in most of his creations! I was allowed to take only one photo while there.

In the afternoon we enjoy some time at leisure in Florence. It was raining very hard this day and we were indeed thankful that we had another day to return to Florence.



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