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.
The park can be reached by bus 25A or 307A, direction Pratolino.
Parco Mediceo di Pratolino - Villa Demidoff
Via Fiorentina, 276, 50036 Pratolino FI, Italia
The Park is not easily accessible to mobility impaired persons, due to the presence of unevenness and natural obstacles (branches, potholes, dirt tracks). The steep slope of the final stretch (entering and leaving) is hard for people with difficulty walking and persons in wheelchairs need to be accompanied.
Motor vehicles are not allowed in the Park. Disabled cars, on presentation of the counterfoil, can enter and park at the entrance near the lodge, so as to avoid crossing the via Fiorentina, a high traffic road, but cannot access the core area of the Park.
The access to the core area of the Park (Locanda-Villa Paggeria) with a private vehicle, as an extraordinary procedure notwithstanding the transit ban for motor vehicles, is subject to prior authorisation by the Park Management, in limited numbers and with requirements issued each time, while reserving the right to deny access in case the safety conditions of visitors are put at risk. Disabled permits: +39 335 7305896