So we went to both the Pitti Palace, and the Boboli Gardens today, Sunday 8 September.
So far my favorite places, and what I would call Must See when in Florence.
The Pitti Palace is immense, and if the frescoed walls and ceilings aren't enough; (They were frescoed by Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669)), there are tapestries, carpets, furniture, and an absolutely incredible array of paintings and sculptures. Tickets are 13€ per person, unless you are from a European Union country. Absolutely amazing
So, the palace,On the first floor is the Palatine Gallery, which as I said, contains an amazing collection 16th and 17th century paintings and sculptures, but you'll spend just as much time admiring the wall and ceiling frescoes. it is the Royal Apartments that contain the period furnishings. On the ground floor and mezzanine is the Silver Museum (Museo degli Argenti) displaying a collection of Medici household treasures; and the Gallery of Modern Art is on the top floor, this is a collection of mostly Tuscan 19th and 20th century paintings.
Tickets are an odd combination designed to extract the maximum € possible.
Online you will find a myriad of ticket options, however, once you get there you can choose ticket 1, and/or ticket 2. Ticket 1 gets you in to the Palace , the Palantine Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art, and the Royal Apartments. ticket 2 - The Boboli garden ticket indicates that for your 10€ entry you have gained access to Boboli gardens, the Palazzina del Cavaliere on the upper slopes of the Boboli Gardens that houses the Porcelain Museum, and the Palazzina of the Meridiana which contains the Costume Gallery, a showcase of the fashions of the past 300 years. Your ticket also indicates you have access to the Bardini Gardens. However, when you get to the entrance for the Bardini Gardens they deny you entry and say it is a separate new 10€ fee.
I would suggest to do them on two different days unless you are on a very tight schedule, both require a lot of walking and climbing. Neither of these is suitable for the ambulatory impaired, the palace has lots of stairs and no apparent lift, and the garden paths are dirt and stone, and have some serious elevation changes.
And by going on 2 different days so you can take advantage of all the options purchased with each ticket.
We got through the Palantine Gallery and the Royal Apartments, and I had to get out, I was on overload, so missed the silver and the modern art. There are very few paces to rest inside the Palace.
Now, for my critique - and my only critique is this, well two critiques; not enough benches to be able to rest, we were probably two hours with just the Palantine gallery. And my BIG critique, the place is filthy, the paintings and frames are dusty, the sculptures are covered in dust and have lost all luster, I mean good grief, money is being made, spend some of it on maintaining the art, and less on the guards that sit at each doorway and barely look up from their books and electronics devices.
The Boboli Gardens - I lifted all this info from. http://www.mega.it/eng/egui/monu/pittbobo.htmlAs soon as the Medici bought the Pitti Palace in 1550, work got under way to enlarge it; at the same time work also started on laying out the park behind the building, which was planned to occupy a scenographic setting on the slopes of the Boboli hill (covering 320.000 square metres) and also had access from the square. Its name probably came from the "Borgoli" or "Borgolini" family, who owned houses and land in this part of Oltrarno (literally "over the Arno"), close to the church of Santa Felicita. However the land and the farm that once stood on it belonged to the De' Rossi family when Luca di Bonaccorso Pitti bought it in 1418.
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.
The Pond of Isolotto - His design was used as a basis for all the royal gardens in Europe, including Versailles, while the park itself was immediately enriched with many Mannerist inventions by Buontalenti (like the Grotta Grande), fountains and statues by Ammannati, Giambologna and Tacca and eventually completed by Giulio and Alfonso Parigi (1631- 1656). The two architects, father and son, carried out the stone Amphitheatre, the unique setting for many celebrated theatrical performances, the cypress alley known as the "Viottolone" and the square and pool of Isolotto. The last additions, like the Coffeehouse (1774-76), the Lawn of the Columns (1776) and the Lemonary (1785), were installed by the Lorriane family who, in the 19th century, introduced several changes in various parts of the park, as decreed by the Romantic "English garden", then in vogue. Pietro Leopoldo decided to open the garden to the public in 1776.
The Giardino del Cavaliere, or Garden of the Knight, a solitary and private area in the grounds, can be found at the top of the hill, close to Fort Belvedere, with the small palace that today houses the Porcelain Museum.
Not much else I can say, except do what we did, take the small paths, the cuts in the hedge, path less traveled, I enjoyed Boboli immensely, and OMG the scenery up there...
We could have spent more time, but after 2 hours in the Palace, and 2 in the Garden, I was beat.
Definitely take water, and if you can take a little picnic.
And again my critique is in the maintenance, the place is in a horrible state, weeds taking over the box hedge, hedges untrimmed, fruit trees suffering from a blight, ponds and pools so overgrown with algae.