A green itinerary through three public parks in the nearby of Piazza della Libertà, a few steps from the historic centre of Florence: Horticultural Garden, Villa Fabbricotti Park and Stibbert Museum Park.
The Giardino dell’Orticoltura (Horticultural Garden) has three different entrances, the monumental one is in via Vittorio Emanuele II. This gate introduces us to the many features of this park, such as lawns, high-trunk trees, flowerbeds, a library (belonging to the Municipality) and a very popular children’s playground. Historical evidences that testify the greatness of this place are the loggia and the majestic glass and iron Tepidarium by Giacomo Roster, a unique example in Tuscany. From the Tepidarium, a small path leads us to the upper part of the garden, the so called Orti del Parnaso (Garden of Parnassus), overlooking the city of Florence; in this section of the garden is located the snake-fountain made of various materials, meandering along the slope of the garden.
Out of the garden, we are in via Trento, and through via Trieste, we get down along via Vittorio Emanuele II where we can see another monumental entrance and an impressive staircase: it is Villa Fabbricotti. A small building transformed into a villa in the second half of the nineteenth century, now housing offices. The romantic park is shaded by centuries-old trees and was designed according to the unevenness of the Montughi hill. Queen Victoria of England was a vip host of this villa between March and April 1894: a marble plaque commemorates this event.
Through a small gate, let’s enter now in the Baden Powell Garden, another pleasant public park; once it was Villa Stibbert’s orchard and still today many fruit trees make it beautiful in spring when they fill up with delicate little flowers in white and pink.
We leave this garden and another monumental gate opens to the park of Villa Stibbert, residence of Frederick Stibbert, the famous Anglo-Florentine art collector. The villa is a beautiful museum with admission fee, but the romantic park is free of charge. It is a very shady park, dotted with artistic curiosities as statues, temples and the most exotic constructions: an Egyptian temple surrounded by a small lake with ducks. This was the oriental taste of the time and for us a source of wonder and a pleasant walk.