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From 01/02/2024 to 28/04/2024

Special opening of the Madama Grotto and Garden

Visite alla Grotticina di Madama

In February, March and April the two spaces are open to the public

The Boboli Gardens' staff opens the Grotto and the Madama Garden to the public in February, March and April 2024, according to the following opening times:

From Thursday to Sunday

February: 9.00 am - 2.00 pm
March: 9.00 am - 1.00 pm / 2.00 pm - 5 pm
April: 9.00 am - 1.00 pm / 2.00 pm - 6 pm

During the construction works of the Boboli Gardens in the mid-sixteenth century, a small garden was arranged next to the walls of the San Giorgio Convent. The Madama Grotto, the oldest in the Boboli Gardens and one of the earliest examples of artificial grotto, dates from the same period (1553-1555). Built for Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I, under the direction of Davide Fortini, it gets its name from Maria Maddalena of Austria, Cosimo II’s wife.

The faux rock façade is framed in stone and surmounted by a triangular tympanum. Similar decorative elements characterise also the inside, where spongy rocks, punctuated by niches and architectural panels, cover the walls and the broad barrel vault decorated with grotesques painted by Bachiacca.

At the back, between faux stalactites, are sculptures of animals. Except for the goat in the centre by Baccio Bandinelli, they were all created by Giovanni di Paolo Fancelli, to whom we are also owe the oval basin with putti and capricorns, which was moved to the façade of Pitti Palace in 1696 and replaced with a copy.

The marble floor is by Santi di Michele Buglioni.

The eponymous garden is in front of the Madama Grotto. It was originally used to cultivate dwarf fruit trees for Cosimo I, and today, along with the adjacent Jupiter Garden, it has beds of roses and peonies bounded by low box hedges. 

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