The lush green heart of the city of Florence is about to get a major facelift.
A €50 million mega-project to restore the Boboli Gardens was announced last week by Uffizi Galleries officials during the inauguration of the newly-revamped Kaffeehaus, an 18th-century domed pavilion and rare example of Rococo architecture in Tuscany.
The first phase of the renovation was completed with the historic Kaffeehaus and its stunning 18th-century frescoes. Scheduled to reopen in October — after some 20 years — the pavilion now has a Grand-Ducal cafeteria with tables inside and out, restrooms, and a large garden and panoramic terrace overlooking Florence's skyline.
The “Boboli Masterplan 2030” is an ambitious, eight-year plan to return the formal gardens to their Medici-era splendor. Renovations of the expansive, 33-hectare grounds — located on a slope behind the Pitti Palace in Florence’s Oltrarno neighborhood — are slated for completion in 2030.
The Medici family began the layout and construction of the Boboli Gardens in 1549, commissioning the design to Niccolò Pericoli (also known as Tribolo). After Tribolo’s untimely death, the project was handed over to Bartolomeo Ammannati and Bernardo Buontalenti. A cavalcade of renowned architects followed, all helping to usher in the iconic Italian Renaissance garden style that would go on to grace “backyards” of courtly palaces all over Europe.
In the latter half of the 18th century, the Boboli Gardens were finally opened to the public.
“The core of 'Boboli 2030' project is the enhancement of the Garden's vast architectural heritage, the restoration and rehabilitation of sculptures and fountains, the improvement of its enjoyment for visitors, the creation of new services, the opening of new spaces, the optimization of water resources, a new lighting and video surveillance system,” according to the Uffizi's official website.
Other key improvements to the grounds include the addition of three refreshment areas and a new high-tech storage facility to house the Uffizi’s collection of historic tapestries and carpets — the largest in the world.
Funds have not yet been allocated, but most of the money is expected to be generated through museum ticket sales and through private donors, such as Italian fashion house Gucci, which has already pledged nearly €2 million.
If you go
Piazza de' Pitti 1, Firenze
Tel. +39 055 23885
Open daily from 8:15 am
Closing hours: 4.30pm (Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec); 5.30 pm (Mar, Oct with Standard time); 6.30pm (Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct (with Daylight saving time); 7.10pm (Jun, Jul, Aug).
Regular closures: First and last Monday of the month, January 1, December 25
Full restoration masterplan