September 16 – 26th, 2006

September 22, our first day in Florence! After breakfast, we are met by our driver and taken to Boboli Gardens (on 2007 tour). Boboli is an incredible place… Designed for the Medici family after they bought the Palazzo Pitti in 1549, the gardens are an excellent example of stylized Renaissance gardening and were first opened to the public in 1766. The more formal parts of the garden consist of box hedges clipped into symmetrical patterns that lead to wilder groves of ilex and cypress trees, planted to create a contrast between artifice and nature. The Boboli Gardens were not to become famous until they became the property of the Medici family, who called in Niccolò Pericoli, known as Tribolo, to design them; this artist had already given ample proof of his talent with his designs for the gardens of the Medici Villas of Castello and Petraia. Tribolo created a masterpiece of "landscape architecture" in the Boboli Gardens between 1550 and 1558, the year of his death. This place is massive, both in size and in scope of gardens and the size of the Palazzo is outstanding. It’s in a world-famous location, adjoining the Pitti Palace on the Arno River’s south bank; it’s an outdoor museum that contains several masterpieces of sculpture and architecture; its design influenced many other notable European gardens, including Versailles; and its view of Florence from Forte di Belvedere at the top of Boboli Hill is perhaps the finest urban vista in all of Italy. After this visit we met our local Italian guide for a walking tour around the area of the Duomo and Uffizi area. We found some great places to eat and the food, well, what can you say about Italian food! After this we had free time until we met our coach for the trip back to the hotel. Now don’t forget, I had been here before as well, so do look in the Pix area of the site for the past tour there to see a lot more pictures.

September 23rd was our free day I had some friends with me on this tour so after breakfast we walked out to the road and caught the local bus into town…got off close to a local market. Wandered around there for quite a while because there were some great bargains to be found. I bought a lime green leather back pack type purse and I got tons of compliments on it. Also got some leather goods for Tom and my friends loaded up on gifts for family here. A great market. Then we walked to the Ponte de Vecchio This is a great place to find real gem and well as costume jewellery, plus just incredible gelato. Look at that picture and just imagine yourself eating some…yes it was truly delicious! I found some great shoes for Tom here (yes I can buy him shoes that fit) and leather belts and money clips and card holders…all in leather…we spent most of the day downtown, just wandering through the streets and peeking into stores. The shopping is great.






  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row