Giardino torrigiani


© Sailko

Giardino Torrigiani


Astonishing. Behind the unassuming facades of Via de' Serragli lies a vast, secret garden – Europe’s largest privately owned green space within a historic centre, owned by the Torrigiani Malaspina and Torrigiani di Santa Cristina families. It’s possible to visit this well-kept and loved leafy retreat in the engaging company of the charismatic Marquis Vanni Torrigiani Malaspina and his wife, Susanna. Tours (in English or Italian) are intimate and offer a rare glimpse into a very different and privileged Florentine world.

Designed at the height of the Romantic movement in the early 19th century, the idyllic oasis of green wrapped around the original 16th-century villa and subsequent early-19th-century house includes rare tree species, wide English-style lawns, herb and vegetables gardens, sculpted lions, a beautifully restored greenhouse, and remains of city walls built under Cosimo I in 1544 (one of six sets of walls to be built around Florence at different times – spot the segment of older, 14th-century walls outside the garden).

The garden design is laden with complex Masonic symbology, climaxing with an elegant neo-Gothic tower spiralling to the heavens; the three levels allude to the three stages of the initiation process from the profane world to the initiation of Freemasonry.

In the restored antique greenhouse and Italian garden known collectively as Serra Torrigiani, the Marquis Vanni and Susanna run horticultural, gardening and painting courses and workshops.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Oltrarno attractions

2. Casa Guidi

0.24 MILES

It was on the ground floor of 15th-century Palazzo Guidi, across from Palazzo Pitti, that Robert and Elizabeth Browning rented an apartment in 1847, a…

3. Basilica di Santa Maria del Carmine

0.29 MILES

Fire in the 18th century practically destroyed this 13th-century church, but it spared the magnificent frescoes in its chapel – the entrance to Cappella…

4. Fondazione Salvatore Romano

0.29 MILES

For a change of pace from the Renaissance, head to this Gothic-style former refectory safeguarding an imposing wall fresco by Andrea Orcagna depicting the…

5. Cappella Brancacci

0.29 MILES

Fire in the 18th century practically destroyed 13th-century Basilica di Santa Maria del Carmine, but it spared its magnificent chapel frescoes – a…

6. Basilica di Santo Spirito

0.31 MILES

The facade of this Brunelleschi church, smart on Florence's most shabby-chic piazza, makes a striking backdrop to open-air concerts in summer. Inside, the…

7. Museo della Moda e del Costume

0.32 MILES

Few visitors to Palazzo Pitti get as far as this Fashion and Costume Museum, host to various fashion-themed temporary exhibitions.

8. Appartamenti Reali

0.33 MILES

Palazzo Pitti's Appartamenti Reali are presented as they were c 1880–91, when they were occupied by members of the House of Savoy. The style and division…