Botanical Garden Of The University Of Florence

Botanical Garden Of The University Of Florence
Botanical Garden Of The University Of Florence

Video: Botanical Garden Of The University Of Florence

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Video: The Botanical Garden 2023, February
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While walking among the masterpieces in the center of Florence, the feeling that something was wrong and something was missing all the time did not leave. Only on the third day, when I got to the botanical garden, I understood. The narrow streets of Florence lack greenery. No, of course, there are in Florence and the Bobboli Gardens next to the Pitti Palace, and other parks. But the very center is not friendly with the goddess Flora. Even this small and charming oasis looks like something alien among the stone labyrinth.

And the garden is very amusing. To begin with, it is very old. Italy is generally famous for the oldest universities. And where there are universities, there are botanical gardens.

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici
Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici

In addition to the Florentine garden, there are similar former university gardens in Pisa and Padua. That is, the botanical garden in Florence was created in the 16th century. The official name is Giardino dei Semplici.

Like so many heritage sites, the garden is associated with the name of the Medici dynasty. Casimo I allocated the necessary amount of money to establish a park with medicinal plants with the desire to create a collection of medicinal plants for the training of medical students. The official date for the founding of the garden can be considered December 1, 1545, when an agreement was signed, according to which the Dominican monastery ceded land next to the Medici stables. In terms of age, it is considered the third in the world after the botanical garden of Pisa (1543) and Padua, which was founded in the same year, but, apparently, several months earlier than in Florence.

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici
Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici
Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici

The garden was designed by Niccolo Tribolo. The Florentine garden owes its first collections to the Italian botanist Luca Guini. It was under his leadership that work on the establishment and development of an educational garden for medical students took place. Already at that time, experiments were carried out here on the introduction of overseas plants and agronomy. In the 18th century, the original original layout of the utilitarian botanical garden was lost due to its transformation into a private area with rare plants. The garden's collections were enriched under the guidance of Giuseppe Casabona, who knew a lot about rare plants and introductions.

In the 18th century, the great botanists of their time worked in this garden - Pierre Antonio Micheli, who at the beginning of the century made the garden a center for botanical research and research of international importance, thanks to his relations with many foreign scientists. In addition, he was busy collecting seeds and herbarium. After Micheli's death in 1737, Giovanni Targinini Tosetti and Saverio Manetti worked in the garden. In 1783 the garden was transformed into an "agricultural experimental garden" and was radically restored.

In the 19th century, a garden in Florence became public and opened its doors to the townspeople. Naturally, with the change in the purpose of the garden, it was reconstructed, and its appearance changed in accordance with new tasks.

Cycads
Cycads

Cycads

Anthurium cross-curved (Anthurium crassinervium) in the greenhouse
Anthurium cross-curved (Anthurium crassinervium) in the greenhouse

Anthurium cross-curved (Anthurium crassinervium) in the greenhouse

Piece of Russia
Piece of Russia

Piece of Russia

In 1864 the garden was opened to the general public. The botanist Theodore Caruelle, director from 1865 to 1895, built the greenhouses that still exist today. Now it is a division of the university.

In our time, only a circle with a fountain and a statue of a boy with a dolphin made by Niccolo Pericoli remain from the previous arrangement in the botanical garden. The main alleys have also been preserved, which intersect in the form of a cross. In the wall opposite the entrance to La Pira, there is a marble bust of Aesculapius. Its author is the sculptor Antonio Gino Lorenzi de Settignano (second half of the 16th century).

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici. Marble bust of Aesculapius
Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici. Marble bust of Aesculapius

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici. Marble bust of Aesculapius

The garden covers an area of ​​2.3 hectares, of which 1,694 m 2 are greenhouses. The layout of the plantings also resembles a model of a medieval garden for the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic herbs, which resembles part of the secret garden of a Renaissance villa. The Secret Garden is such a corner of the garden of the Renaissance Italian villa, where not everyone was taken, but only especially loved and trusted guests.

The diagram of the territory of the botanical garden clearly shows that its territory is divided into irregular squares.

The main building stretches along Via Miceli and houses offices, a library, laboratories and greenhouses, which face the glass part of the garden. The building on the plan has two wings formed by greenhouses, and in the central part there is an entrance to the garden. Greenhouses, both heated and unheated, are specialized depending on what is located in them - collections of ferns, epiphytes, begonias, bromeliads, citrus fruits, palms, etc.

In the greenhouse
In the greenhouse

In the greenhouse

Tropical plants in a greenhouse
Tropical plants in a greenhouse

Tropical plants in a greenhouse

Citrus greenhouse
Citrus greenhouse

Citrus greenhouse

Greenhouses are small and differ in microclimate. Plants in greenhouses are planted in pots. The cacti are taken out in a kind of summer greenhouse. The greenhouses in the botanical garden are relatively small, attached to the wall of the main building. Plants in them are in tubs and pots. But there are interesting views, which is called history. For example, chilibukha is a plant whose fruits are used in homeopathy and contain two powerful convulsive poisons - strychnine and brucine, which were actively used both for treatment and for unseemly purposes. Remember Madame de Villefort with brucin. Or, for example, rauwolfia, the roots of which are used to obtain antihypertensive drugs. The older generation probably remembers Raunatin.

Common Chilibuha (Strychnos nux-vomica)
Common Chilibuha (Strychnos nux-vomica)

Common Chilibuha (Strychnos nux-vomica)

Rauwolfia serpentina (Rauwolfia serpentina)
Rauwolfia serpentina (Rauwolfia serpentina)

Rauwolfia serpentina (Rauwolfia serpentina)

There are also more peaceful and tasty plants, such as a cocoa tree with flowers on the trunk. The scientific name for this phenomenon is caulofloria. Nearby, there are small expositions with the products of these useful plants and spices: coffee, cocoa, myrrh, incense, etc.

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici. Exhibition in the greenhouse
Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici. Exhibition in the greenhouse

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici. Exhibition in the greenhouse

Several pots of coca bushes stand in a prominent place, and at the same time - no security.

Coca (Erythroxylum coca)
Coca (Erythroxylum coca)

Coca (Erythroxylum coca)

Separate greenhouse with citrus fruits. This botanical family has been the weakness of Italians for centuries. Any villa from the Medici era to the beginning of the 20th century has at least a small hesperidarium - this is how the collection of citrus fruits is scientifically called. These are mainly oranges, lemons and, of course, the symbol of Italy - bergamot. Bergamot oil of the best quality is produced precisely on the territory of this state, although much further south, in Calabria and Sicily.

All garden paths are paved with pebbles, and flower beds are bordered by low borders. The benches are also made of stone.

Despite the small size of the garden, there is a very impressive collection of woody plants. There are many very old trees, which, probably, have been seen by representatives of the Medici family. One of the oldest is the berry yew (1790) and the cork oak (1820). The North American marsh cypress looks very unusual. Its roots form original respiratory outgrowths called pneumatophores.

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici
Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici

Botanical Garden of the University of Florence Giardino dei Semplici

Marsh cypress (Taxodium distichum) with aerial roots
Marsh cypress (Taxodium distichum) with aerial roots

Marsh cypress (Taxodium distichum) with aerial roots

Deciduous magnolias are magnificent, which bloom vigorously in April. Quince trees bloom touchingly. The Judas tree looks luxurious.

Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum)
Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum)

Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum)

Common quince (Cydonia oblonga)
Common quince (Cydonia oblonga)

Common quince (Cydonia oblonga)

As a tribute to the past, in Giardino dei Semplici a small part of the garden along the fence is given over to medicinal and aromatic plants, which in the 16th century were the main ones in this area. Of these, first of all, the few flowering species, mainly well-known and aromatic plants, such as rosemary, medicinal sage, thyme and, of course, lavender, attracted attention.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

White wormwood, or camphor (Artemisia alba)
White wormwood, or camphor (Artemisia alba)

White wormwood, or camphor (Artemisia alba)

Italian immortelle (Helichrysum italicum)
Italian immortelle (Helichrysum italicum)

Italian immortelle (Helichrysum italicum)

Sage officinalis (Salvia officinalis)
Sage officinalis (Salvia officinalis)

Sage officinalis (Salvia officinalis)

Stekhad lavender (Lavandula stoechas)
Stekhad lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

Stekhad lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

The garden is very decorated with antique-style ceramic pots with aromatic plants and successfully decorated with trees and shrubs planted nearby.

Potted plants
Potted plants

Potted plants

Japanese garden
Japanese garden

Japanese garden

Potted plant, decorated with shrubs
Potted plant, decorated with shrubs

Potted plant, decorated with shrubs

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)
Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)

In the far corner, just behind the medicinal plants, they set up a classic Japanese garden and a rock garden.

Aquatic plants are very nicely decorated. And although there is still nothing special to see in April, the water surface in combination with retaining walls and surrounding plants is mesmerizing.

The Botanical Garden in Florence is also adapted for people with disabilities, in particular the blind and visually impaired. Especially for the blind, there are pots with various aromatic plants on stands, from which you can tear off and rub part of the shoot with your fingers, and plates in Braille.

In general, any visitor can find something interesting in this wonderful botanical corner.

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