The Florence Botanical Garden was founded in 1545, by Cosimo I, who, after having founded the Botanical Garden of the University of Pisa, gave life to the one in Florence; it was a Garden of Simples, prepared so that the Florentine students of the University of Pisa could practice medicinal plants during the summer holidays.
Over the centuries, the Botanical Garden of Florence, now under the direction of the Natural History Museum of the University of Florence, has been enriched with greenhouses for exotic plants and specimens from all over the world.
Most of the plants preserved in this Botanical Garden are in pots, and have been collected in nature, in their places of origin; many are produced inside the Garden, thanks to the seeds obtained through the exchange with other non-profit institutions.
Inside this Botanical Garden you can admire many specimens belonging to the Italian and even world flora; the oldest tree in the garden is a Taxus baccata: planted by P.A. Micheli in 1720, he survived the elimination of high-trunk plants implemented by the Accademia dei Georgofili in 1780, when he took over the management of the Garden. Also noteworthy are the specimens of Ginkgo biloba, Metasequoia and Zelkova serrata.
The "Giardino dei Semplici" collection of medicinal plants is an educational collection of medicinal plants and aromatic plants, which aims to offer a picture as broad as possible of the plants used both in ancient popular tradition and in the modern pharmaceutical industry. Attention has also been given to poisonous plants, to sensitize the general public to the problem, often underestimated, of accidental ingestion intoxications.
In the greenhouses there are numerous exotic species, during the summer months they are moved outdoors, but these are species that could not withstand the rigors of winter.
A large collection of ferns and bromeliads; remarkable the quantity of succulents and tropical plants. Not to forget the orchid greenhouse, with the most spectacular flowers in the world.
Purpose of the garden
The expansion of the population, the development of industrial activities and agriculture have led to the destruction of many habitats and caused climate changes that have damaged the life of plants on our planet. Over the next decades more than 1/4 of all plant species could disappear if we do not do something to safeguard them. The Botanical Gardens and Arboretums are the cornerstones of plant conservation; about 1/3 of all known species are cultivated today in these structures.
Inside the Botanical Garden of Florence the plants are accurately identified, cataloged and then placed in the most suitable place, where they will be treated for as long as possible; specimens showing signs of deterioration due to age or disease are propagated and then replaced by the new specimens obtained.
In addition to conservation, which takes on particular importance in the context of disappearing plants, the fundamental purpose of the Botanical Garden is the didactic-educational function, aimed primarily at university students, and extended in recent years to schools of every order and level , to allow young visitors to reach the maturity necessary to understand the importance of protecting the flora. For this purpose the Botanical Garden organizes guided tours for both schools and groups that request them. To facilitate and make the visit more interesting, guides have also been published, which are on sale at the concierge.
To bring more and more users closer to the Botanical Garden, exhibitions of various kinds are also promoted, such as competitions and photographic exhibitions with a naturalistic theme; at this site it is also possible to attend poetry readings or famous novels, to bring the Florentines closer to love of nature and also to reading.
Florence Botanical Garden: Information
"Giardino dei Semplici" Botanical Garden
Via P.A. Micheli, 3
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday: 9.00-13.00
Saturday: 9.00-17.00 Wednesday: CLOSED
For guided tours call Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
from 9.00 to 12.00
Bus: stop at Piazza San Marco, Via Lamarmora.
Parking: Piazza Libertа, Parterre.
This article was compiled thanks to information provided by Dr. Paolo Luzzi, of the Florence Botanical Garden; more information can be found directly on the site of the Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence