Secret Gardens & Courtyards Open to the Public



Over 30 private gardens, courtyards and historical buildings in Florence will be participating in the Italian Historic Houses Association (ADSI) initiative and opening their doors to the public on Sunday, May 21. The event, which takes place annually, gives tourists and residents of Florence alike the chance to enjoy the heritage of the city through a botanical and architectural lens. Admission is free, but reservations are required. Extended descriptions and further information about concurrent musical events taking place at the venues and guided tours can be found below.

Venues Participating in ADSI Initiative:

Palazzo Frescobaldi 

10 am – 1 pm, 2.30 – 6 pm

Via Santo Spirito 11

The Palazzo Frescobaldi, commissioned by Matteo Frescobaldi in 1621, is a large complex of ancient buildings, comprising towers and houses dating back to the medieval and Renaissance eras. The courtyard, leading to the internal garden, is adorned with columns and elegant entablatures. The garden itself was designed in 19th century, and is divided into four parts with a Baroque fountain at its centre.

Torrigiani Garden

Via dei Serragli 144

10 am – 1 pm, 3 – 6 pm

At the end of the Via de’ Serragli lies the Torrigiani Garden, the largest private garden in Florence. Pietro Torrigiani (formerly Pietro Guadagni) inherited his maternal uncle’s Tuscan estate in 1798; Pietro was obliged to change his surname to keep the property in the family’s name. He devoted much of his time to extending and improving on the gardens. Between 1813 and 1814, for instance, he commissioned the architect Luigi De Cambray Digny to design a garden in the ‘English style’, that is, a sort of Arcadian paradise. Subsequent developments by another architect included the building of a neo-Gothic tower, a burial ground and the hippodrome; the merlons (the protruding sections of a battlement) of the Medici walls were also removed. Since the 17th century, the garden has been recognised for its rich and varied botanical displays, with citrus fruits, camellias and rhododendrons still grown there today.

Palazzo Antinori Aldobrandini

Piazza Antinori 3

10 am – 1 pm, 2.30 – 6 pm

The Palazzo was first established in 1488 by Antonio di Tommaso Antinori. Later renovations were undertaken in 1853 by Amerigo Antinori, who entrusted the project to architect Giuseppe Poggi (the elegant façade, for instance, was his design). The palace was later passed on to the Aldobrandini princes, to whose heirs it still belongs. Poggi’s influence and artistic eye extended to the palace gardens, where he went about widening the space and created a mound covered in rocks, hedges and various plants. The loggia, connected to the palace by a suspension bridge and elegantly draped in wisteria, can be approached by a steep stone ramp.

Palazzo Bartolini Salimbeni 

10 – 1 pm, 2.30 – 6 pm

Santa Trinita Square, 1 50123

In the 16th-century, Florentine architecture began to change, with the pioneering architects Simone de Pollaiolo (Cronaca) and Bartolomeo di Angiolo Baglioni (Baccio d`Agnolo) leading the way with these stylistic developments. The Palazzo Bartolini Salimbeni is a notable example of this late Renaissance architecture and represents the structural and aesthetic innovations that were taking place at the time. Visitors to its courtyard on May 21 will be able to appreciate its fine details, including acanthus leaves and decorative, beaded bands.

Villa I Collazzi 

via Volterra 9, Scandicci

10 am – 12 noon – 6 pm

Overlooking the rolling Tuscan landscape, this elegant 16th century villa currently belongs to the Marchi family and is located in the town of Scandicci, on the outskirts of Florence. In the Mannerist style, its design is most likely attributable to Santo di Tito, although some have suggested more than one architect was involved in its construction. An 18th century chapel, decorated by the painters Vincenzo Meucci and Rinaldo Botti, is also located on the site; it houses the precious altarpiece by Santo di Tito depicting the Wedding at Cana. With its majestic cypress approach and immaculate lawns, the villa offers a welcome pause from the bustle of Florence.

Other Venues:

  1. Giardino e Palazzo Rosselli del Turco | Borgo Santi Apostoli 17
  2. Palazzo Antinori | piazza Antinori 3
  3. Palazzo Gondi | via dei Gondi 2 and piazza San Firenze 1
  4. Palazzo Capponi alle Rovinate | lungarno Torrigiani 25
  5. Palazzo Malenchini | via dei Benci 1
  6. Fondazione Mello – Studio d’arte le Colonne | borgo Pinti 24
  7. Palazzo Leopardi – Galleria Studio Marcello Tommasi | via della Pergola 57,
  8. Palazzo Pucci | via de’ Pucci 4
  9. Palazzo dei Pittori | viale Giovanni Milton 49
  10. Villa Tornabuoni Lemmi | via Taddeo Alderotti 56
  11. Villa Le Pergole Via del Pergolino 15
  12. Giardino di Palazzo Wagnière-Fontana Elliot | entrances at Lungarno Soderini 9 and Borgo San Frediano 8

ADSI Venues Hosting Musical Events:

The following venues, taking part in the ADSI initiative, will also be hosting musical events in their grounds and courtyards during the opening:

Terrazza Antica Torre Tornabuoni, 11 am – a classical guitar repertoire, with pieces by Mauro Giuliani, Roberto Gerhard and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco; performers, Isaac Peruzzi and Matteo Scalabrella.

Cortile di Palazzo Ximènes Panciatichi, 12 noon – a Baroque arrangement for flute, including works by Georg Philipp Telemann, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach; performers, Amedeo Ferraro and Emma Falleni.

Villa San Francesco di Paola, 3 pm – strings and classical guitar, with pieces by Luigi Boccherini, Eduardo Sainz de la Maza y Ruiz and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco; performers, Ruben Have, Felicia Neri, Matteo Di Lorenzo and Giovanna Carrillo Fantappiè.

Atrio di Palazzo Antinori di Brindisi Aldobrandini, 4 pm – a contralto saxophone performance, with pieces by M. Mellits, R. Buckland, P. Glass, R. R. Bennett; performers, Tommaso Bravi and Pietro Madioni.

Villa Medicea del Poggio Imperiale, 5 pm – a classical string quartet performing the four movements of Mozart’s String Quarter in D Minor K421; musicians, Ruben Have, Neri Felicia, Matteo Di Lorenzo, Michele Di Lorenzo. (sophie holloway)