Boys running on a path in Boboli Gardens. Gravel path with tall bushes on either side.

Boboli Gardens – A Local’s Guide + Helpful Tips

Are you trying to decide if you should add the Boboli Gardens to your Florence itinerary? 

Maybe you’re unsure if it’s worth paying to visit Boboli Gardens.  After all, public gardens are free in so many other European cities (and there are free gardens in Florence).

Our family is based here in Tuscany and we enjoy visiting Boboli Gardens, one of Florence’s few green spaces. 

The Boboli Gardens (aka Giardino di Boboli or Boboli Garden) is a large Italian-style garden that was designed for Florence’s Medici family (this is the ‘backyard’ of their palace – Palazzo Pitti).

Boboli Gardens aren’t just gardens with plants and grass.  In fact, they’re often described as an open-air museum.  The almost 75-acre gardens feature fountains (not all working), statues, grottoes, an amphitheater, views of Florence, and even a friendly flock of bright green parakeets.

You may want to read about The Best Gardens in Florence

Who Will Love the Boboli Gardens

A visit to Boboli Gardens is for you if:

  • You’ve been wandering around Florence’s museums and city center, and you need a dose of manicured gardens.
  • You want to have a nice view of Florence, especially while enjoying a picnic.
  • You like green gardens and flowers and are visiting in the spring.
  • You’re in Florence with your family and your kids need some space to run and explore.
  • You’re looking for a quiet space in Florence.  Although Boboli Gardens has many visitors, there are plenty of tranquil spots in the garden where you can read or relax.

Who Should Skip the Boboli Gardens

Two boys laying on an uphill gravel path in the Boboli Gardens.  One boy is walking up ahead.  There are bushes and trees on both sides of the path.
The uphills in the Boboli Gardens aren’t for everyone – as you can see with 2 out of 3 of my kids

You may want to avoid the Boboli Gardens if:

  • You have gardens where you live that are free. 
  • You’re traveling with small children that must use a stroller.  There are a lot of hills, stairs, and pebbly trails.  But you can visit a lot of the gardens with kids in a stroller – just not everything. 
  • You have super high garden standards.  Some fountains don’t work, and not everything is perfectly manicured.
  • You’re looking for lush green gardens in the middle of the summer.  Boboli Gardens can be ‘golden’ in the hot summer months.
  • You want to go on an easy stroll through a flat park. The Boboli Gardens are hilly and have stairs.

What We Do:  I’m happy to support our museums and pay entrance fees in Florence, but I don’t personally think the Boboli Gardens entrance fee is worth it (especially when visiting with multiple adults – kids are free).  So, I usually save our Boboli visits for the free Sundays.

Buying Tickets to the Boboli Gardens

You can buy tickets to the Boboli Gardens online, or at the entrance. 

If you want to reserve your entrance time, book online on the official website.

At the time of writing, regular entrance is 10€, plus 3€ for a reservation.  Kids (under 18) are free, but you must pay the 3€ if you want reservations for them.

Where Are the Boboli Gardens in Florence?

The Boboli Gardens are at the back of the Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti), south of the Florence historic center.  They are on the south side of the Arno River, less than 5 minutes (walking) from the Ponte Vecchio, and just under 15 minutes (walking) from the Duomo.

How to Get to the Boboli Gardens

If you’re planning on visiting the Boboli Gardens, you’re likely already in Florence.  If so, you can walk, take a taxi, or take the bus to one of the entrances.

If you decide to use public transport, it’s easiest to find the route using Google Maps.

If you’re coming from outside Florence, it’s easy to arrive by car, bus, or taxi.

Good To Know:  If you drive to see the Boboli Gardens, the best place to park is in the Porta Romana lot.  Then, walk across the street to the Porta Romana entrance.

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Where to Enter the Boboli Gardens

There are four entrances to the Boboli Gardens.  You can see them on the map above.

Pitti Palace – Conveniently located in the center of Florence at Palazzo Pitti, but it’s the most crowded

Porta Romana – Easiest entry point if you’re driving to Florence because you can park at the Porta Romana parking lot; not crowded

Forte Belvedere – Conveniently located near the Bardini Gardens (included in the price of your ticket)

Annalena (via Romana) – About ½ way between the Porta Romana and Pitti Palace entrances.   

Good To Know:  You can download the official map from the Boboli Gardens website, but you can get the latest map on the boards at the entrances by scanning the QR code with your phone.

Things to See in The Boboli Gardens

Tindaro Screpolato statue in the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy.  You can see bushes in the background and gravel on the ground.
Tindaro Screpolato, or as my boys call it, “the big face”

You could spend all day in the Boboli Gardens checking out the sculptures, fountains, and unique features.  Some of our favorite things to see on our visits include:

  • The Grotta del Buontalenti (aka Grotta Grande), featuring Michelangelo’s Prisoners / Slaves (replicas – the originals are in the Accademia Gallery)
  • The parrots in the trees of the Prato delle Colonne
  • Views of Florence from the lawn above the Pegasus statue and from the gravel walkway above the Fountain of the Artichoke (look right to see the city peeking from inbetween buildings)
  • The Limonaia (Lemon House)
  • The huge face sculpture (Tindaro Screpolato)
  • The old ice houses
  • The photo-friendly, cypress-lined Viottolone (steep grade)
  • The Neptune Fountain – Heads Up:  Don’t jump into the fountain.  It’s not allowed, and my 5-year old told me he saw a shark.
View of the Fountain of Neptune on a sunny day in the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy.  You can see stairs in the background and terraced lawns.  There are a few trees on either side.  In the middle of the fountain, there's a statue of Neptune.
Fountain of Neptune

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When To Visit the Boboli Gardens

Three boys sitting on a green lawn covered with flowers in the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy.  You can see the back of the Pitti Palace and the Pegasus statue.
Hanging out in the Boboli Gardens in spring

I think the Boboli Gardens are most beautiful in the spring when the plants and trees are green and there are some flowers blooming (the best are the purple flowers on the hillside above the Pegasus statue).

Good To Know:  The spring is also the best time to visit the Bardini Gardens (included in the ticket price), because the purple wisteria is blooming and it’s an incredible site.

While the gardens definitely turn golden in the summer, it’s still a nice place to find some shade and escape a bit of the Florentine summer heat. 

You can also visit in fall (we enjoy it in October and November) or winter if you want to escape crowds, but keep in mind that benches are often wet, you’ll need to bring something if you want to sit on the ground.

It’s also nice to visit on the free entry days because it’s free(!) and even if a lot of people are in the gardens, you can still find a quiet place (it’s almost 75 acres, after all!).

Check out my monthly guides to visiting Florence: OctoberNovemberDecember

Eating in the Boboli Gardens

View of Florence as seen from the Boboli Gardens.  People are walking on a paved path.  The Pitti Palace is on the left.
Follow this path downhill to get to the picnic area

Inside the Boboli Gardens, you don’t have a lot of options for food.

The Kaffeehaus is a café on the eastern side of the gardens but it’s often closed (including at the time of writing).  So, don’t depend on it for a snack or drink.  Instead, look at it as a bonus if it’s open (and enjoy the gorgeous views of Florence from its terrace).

The best option is to bring your own snacks or picnic.  You can pick up supplies at a market in Florence or a grocery store.

You’re not allowed to picnic where you please.  Even though you’ll surely see others eating on benches and in the grass around the garden, there is a designated picnic area on the eastern side of the Boboli Gardens.  It’s in the grassy area (no benches or picnic infrastructure) between the Madama Grotto and the Fountain of Ganymede.

Good To Know: Sugary drinks, soda, and wine aren’t permitted inside the Boboli Gardens.  But we’ve always been allowed to bring in soft juice boxes for kids.

After your visit, head to one of Florence’s Best Gelaterie for a scoop of gelato!

Tips for Visiting the Boboli Gardens

Downhill view of the Viottolone, a wide gravel path in the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy.  Two statues flank the entrance, and trees and bushes line the path.
Looking down the Viottolone after we climbed it
  • Visit for free on the first Sunday of each month or one of the other free entry days. 
  • Download the map to your phone so you can find your way around.  Yes, you can use Google Maps, but most points of interest aren’t noted.
  • Bring your own snacks.  The small café on the grounds (the Kaffeehaus) is often closed (at the time of writing, in spring 2023, it’s still not open). 
  • Bring water.  Yes, there are a few water fountains, but the gardens are huge so you’re not always near one.
  • Have a picnic in the new picnic area (near the Buontalenti Grotto). 
  • Enter from the Porta Romana side and make your way to exit by Palazzo Pitti.  You’ll enter in a quieter part of the gardens, get a great view of the tree-lined Violottone (before you climb up it), and see Florence from grassy area at the top of the climb before you explore the busier parts of the garden.  Then, make your way to the Bardini Gardens or head down the hill to the Pitti Palace and the center of Florence.
  • Give yourself time to enjoy Boboli Gardens and to do some wandering.  Yes, you can enter and ‘check things off the list,’ but it’s much more enjoyable to stroll, check out the views, and imagine living at Pitti Palace and having the place as your back yard.

Visiting the Boboli Gardens with Kids

Boy sliding on a white marble disc while two other boys look on in the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy.

Bringing a stroller?  That’s fine, as there are places you can visit with one.  But, you’ll see a lot more if you visit without a stroller.  There are a lot of hills, many steps, and most of the pathways are gravel or small stones (not stroller-friendly). 

What We Do:  If I’m visiting with my kids, I come without a stroller so they can run around and we can access any part of the gardens.  Do I have to carry my toddler around a lot?  Yes, but it’s worth it because my boys love exploring the gardens.

I recommend bringing a snack.

If you’re planning on seeing the Palazzo Pitti too, you may want to save it for another day.  I find you can easily spend a few hours in Boboli Gardens with kids and combining that with a visit to Palazzo Pitti is too long of a touring day for most little ones. 

I recommend entering at Porta Romana, walking up the Viottolone (big uphill, but stop at the marble discs on the way up and use the cool tree tunnel to the right of the main wide path) and making your way out via the Palazzo Pitti entrance. 

Favorite stops in Boboli Gardens for our kids:

  • Seeing the bright green parakeets (I think that’s what they are) near the Porta Romana entrance
  • The large marble discs to the right of the Violottone (perfect for climbing on and sligind down)
  • The Egyptian obelisk
  • The large face sculpture (Tindaro Screpolato by Igor Mitoraj)
  • Checking out the views of Florence and rolling down the hill above the Pegasus statue
  • Looking at the fountains and their statues
  • The old ice houses (not amazing to look at but ‘cool’ to know their history)
  • The Grotta Grande
  • Walking through the labyrinth in front of the limonaia (not really a labyrinth but my kids still like to walk around it)
  • Finding the statue of the little person riding the tortoise (near the Pitti Palace entrance)

Fun Fact:  Inferno, starring Tom Hanks (as Robert Langdon) has scenes in the Boboli Gardens.  Teens will enjoy visiting the gardens after watching the film.

Read more in my guide to Boboli Gardens with Kids

Helpful Tip: If you really want to visit a sculpture garden that will ‘wow’ your kids, head to southern Tuscany’s Giardino dei Tarocchi!

Boboli Gardens Info

You can find the most up-to-date info on:

  • Entry fee
  • Opening days and hours

by looking at the Boboli Gardens official website.

Florence Alternatives to the Boboli Gardens

View of Florence as seen through artwork in the Rose Garden.  It's a sunny day with puffy clouds and you can see the city skyline and the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio and Giotto's bell tower.
Rose Garden – Giardino delle Rose

If you’re in Florence and are looking for a park or green space to visit, check out Florence’s best gardens, including:

  • Giardino delle Rose (Rose Garden) – excellent views and aperitivo
  • Giardino dell’Iris (Iris Garden) – open in the spring
  • Giardino Bardini (Bardini Garden) – best in the spring when the wisteria blooms
  • Giardino dell’Orticoltura (Horticulture Garden) – see the dragon-serpent statue
  • Giardino Torrigiani (Torrigiani Garden) – best with live music and aperitivo
  • Giardino della Gherardesca (Gherardesca Gardens) – private gardens of the Four Seasons, see them at Sunday brunch
  • Giardini Baden Powell (Baden Powell Gardens) – nice with kids & adjacent to the Stibbert Museum

You can also spend time in Florence’s largest green space, the Parco delle Cascine (Cascine Park), which is just west of the city center.  It’s full of walkers, cyclists, kids playing in small playgrounds, people picnicking and relaxing in the grass, and kids and adults playing soccer.

Boboli Gardens FAQ

Are the Boboli Gardens a hidden gem in Florence?

The Boboli gardens are not ‘hidden’ or ‘undiscovered,’ but some may classify them as a gem.  They’re beautiful gardens in the city center that make for a nice break from the museums and bustle of the historic center of Florence.

How much are tickets to the Boboli Gardens?

At the time of writing, ticket prices for the Boboli Gardens range from free to 13€, depending on things like your age, when you visit, and if you make a reservation.  It’s best to check the Boboli Gardens official website for the most up-to-date ticket prices.

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