In the second half of the 16th century, Francesco I de’ Medici commissioned Bernardo Buontalenti to build a villa (later demolished) and a surrounding park; the latter attracted great interest at the time because of the unusual artificial grottoes, water tricks and statues, and was immediately described as “the garden of marvels”.
After Francesco’s death the park had a chequered history until it was bought by the Russian prince Paul Demidoff in the 19th century. He restored the remaining Renaissance elements, including Giambologna’s colossal Apennines statue overlooking a small lake. Inside the statue there used to be grottoes with decorative features, frescoes and water tricks. The decorations have been lost, as have those in Cupid’s Grotto, although there are still a few sculptures, ponds and grottoes dotted around the park. The only building that has survived to the present day without major modification is the chapel, built by Buontalenti in 1580.
This park is the ideal place for a day out with your children: you can have a picnic on the large lawns, walk or have fun at the playground and also walk your dog.
Parco Mediceo di Pratolino
Via Fiorentina, 276, 50036 Pratolino FI, Italia