[Dario’s version] The Oltrarno beauties: Forte Belvedere, Bardini Garden and Bardini Museum

Florence through the Mayor’s eyes - Chapter 7.

Discover Florence through the Mayor’s eyes: a trip through the places and the mysteries of the city.

This time we’ll talk about a walk in the hills south of the city.

We begin our trip from Forte Belvedere, an extraordinary fortress commissioned by the Grand Duke Ferdinand I de Medici, son of Cosimo I. Ferdinand I wanted more protection in the south and commissioned this structure to the architect Bernardo Buontalenti (also the inventor of gelato!). The fortress, built between 1590 and 1595, hosts mesmerizing contemporary art exhibitions from the spring/summer months to the fall, a real fusion of ancient and modern worlds. The fortress can be visited only during these exhibitions.

Not far away from the fort you’ll find Villa Bardini, named after Stefano Bardini, a great Florentine patron of the arts. The villa boasts a historic panoramic garden built across a series of terraces in typical Renaissance style, giving way to spectacular views that are neither too close or too far from the city, a perfect panorama for a photo opportunity.

Also associated with Stefano Bardini is the Bardini Museum. The museum, today owned by the City of Florence, houses his collection composed of more than 3.600 artifacts: a wonderfully eclectic collection of pieces from many different periods. Did you know that in the Bardini collection you can find the famous wild boar by Tacca, also known as “the Porcellino” by most people? In the center of Florence you’ll find a copy of this statue, right under the Loggia of the Mercato Nuovo. There, most tourists follow the tradition of rubbing the boar’s snout for good luck, but it will be even more exciting to see Tacca’s original version in the extraordinary Museo Bardini. So do not miss it!

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