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A FLORENTINE SUMMER ON THE FIRENZE GREENWAY

Initiative organized by “Associazione Culturale Firenze Greenway” in partnership with My Flora Guide

Defined by Professor Antonio Paolucci as a “green thorn“, a vegetal path in the mineral city, the Firenze Greenway is a circular route that winds through the verdant neighborhood of Viale dei Colli, beyond the Arno river, in Florence.

Florentines and foreigners routinely cross this extraordinary landscape, often without knowing its history: musicians and queens lived in the Firenze Greenway, patriotic loves were kindled and films were made in the shade of cypress trees and in the light of open skies over domes and fortresses.

The Firenze Greenway is an incredible opportunity for slow and sustainable tourism to redeem itself in an area that has everything to tell and is just waiting to be told, thus contributing to the rebirth of Florence.

 

GIUSEPPE POGGI, FLORENCE CAPITAL OF ITALY AND  FIRENZE GREENWAY

Giuseppe Poggi (1811-1901) was the architect of the age of Florence Capital of Italy: he laid out the Viale dei Colli, the Viali di Circonvallazione, Piazzale Donatello, Piazza Libertà, the gardens of the Fortezza da Basso, Villa Favard and Palazzo della Gherardesca, just to mention a few works.

In 1864 he received the task to replan Florence by the mayor of the city, Giulio Carobbi, in collaboration with the committee including Ubaldino Peruzzi and Luigi Cambray-Digny.

Giuseppe Poggi was the town planner of nineteenth-century Florence, which had been built before him by Arnolfo di Cambio, Filippo Brunelleschi, Giorgio Vasari and Bernardo Buontalenti. Unlike his predecessors, Poggi was the first architect to intervene outside the medieval walls. Inspired by the models of Vienna and Paris, Giuseppe Poggi designed the “grandiose public walk” that started from Viale dei Colli and ended at the Cascine Park. The stretch from Viale dei Colli to Porta Romana was concluded, while the continuation towards Bellosguardo, the Ponte alla Vittoria and the Cascine Park unfortunately remained only a dream in the drawer.

Giuseppe Poggi, Florentine architect, turn around: here is his monument”, stands out in large letters on the plaque in the low wall of the flower bed of Piazzale Michelangelo, at the foot of the Loggia. Ironic criticism or just recognition?

 

THE ITINERARIES ON THE FIRENZE GREENWAY

Firenze Greenway combines cultural and natural elements and is therefore a hybrid greenway of about 20 km that runs the length and breadth of Florence, as well as representing an eco-sustainable alternative to the tourist route Duomo-Ponte Vecchio-Piazza Pitti, thus allowing a relocation of tourist flows, as foreseen by the mission of Feel Florence, the tourism office of the municipality of Florence and the Metropolitan City.

Firenze Greenway unfolds in an infinite multiplicity of itineraries that can be followed to the letter or freely interpreted by walkers, such as the Medici route and the medieval route.

You can have fun following in the footsteps of painters, artists and musicians in bucolic and rural settings, in constant confrontation with the city. The interactive map on the site of the Firenze Geenway Cultural Association offers three thematic itineraries: landscapes, architecture and characters. The choice is up to you!

The route along the Viale dei Colli was designed by Giuseppe Poggi during the time of Florence as the capital of Italy and includes the Rampe del Poggi (recently restored), Piazzale Michelangelo, the Iris Garden, the Roses Garden, the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, the Scale Sante, the Parco della Rimembranza, the Bardini Garden, the Forte Belvedere, the Boboli Gardens, the Parco del Tivoli, the Giardino del Bobolino, the Giardino delle Scuderie di Porta Romana, the Viale di Poggio Imperiale and the Villa Medicea di Poggio Imperiale, thus crossing the historic centre of Florence, a UNESCO heritage site, the Medici villa of Poggio Imperiale, a UNESCO heritage site, and the Buffer Zone Poggio Imperiale-Boboli Gardens.

The extraordinary landscape in dialogue with the mass of stone of the city offers the walker a plurality of glimpses, sequences and panoramic – and paradisiacal – views on the profile of Florence, from an unprecedented point of view – but which has existed for almost two centuries.

 

NOT TO BE MISSED ON THE FIRENZE GREENWAY

Villa del Poggio Imperiale

A UNESCO heritage site since 2013, in 1565 the villa on Poggio Baroncelli was confiscated by Cosimo I de ‘Medici who gave it to his daughter Isabella, married to Orsini.  Taken into the possession of her husband’s family, it was then sold to the Medici in 1620. It was Maria Maddalena of Austria, widow of Cosimo II de’ Medici, who commissioned the renovation of the villa and the homonymous avenue of Poggio Imperiale to the architect Giulio Parigi.  The villa is known as Imperial precisely because Mary Magdalene was the sister of Emperor Ferdinand I of Habsburg. Since 1865, the villa has been the seat of the boarding school of the SS. Annunziata. The Chinese apartments inside are undoubtedly the most fascinating part of the villa.

Giardino del Bobolino

Are the Boboli Gardens too big? There is one in miniature!

The Bobolino Garden is made up of three lush gardens where holm oaks, lime trees, locust trees, pines and magnolias abound, but the protagonist tree is undoubtedly the Calocedrus decurrens, of the cypress family, from north-western America. Due to its particular shape, in Florence it is known as the Tree of the Spouses or … the Tree of the Horned!

Boboli Gardens

A UNESCO heritage site since 2013, the Boboli Gardens was bought by Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici, in 1549, when it was still known as the Pitti Vegetable Garden. Eleonora di Toledo entrusted the architect Niccolò Pericoli il Tribolo to excavate the hill and laid out the first Renaissance garden in the city centre. In the 7th century, the garden was enlarged by Cosimo II de’ Medici till Porta Romana, with the opening of the Viottolone dei Cipressi, laid out by Giulio Parigi. The green avenue links the oldest part of the garden to the Vasca dell’Isola, where the statue of Ocean carved by Giambologna triumphs (copy by Raffaello Romanelli; the original one is displayed at the Bargello Museum).

Bardini Garden

Have you just visited Boboli Gardens?

Remain in the green: just take the Forte Belvedere exit and follow the very short path that will lead you directly to the entrance to the Bardini Garden, from Costa San Giorgio 2. “The garden of the three gardens” combines an anglo-chinese garden entrusted by Luigi Cambray-Digny in the 19th century, a Baroque staircase and a plot with an agricultural vocation. Restored in 2003-2005, the Bardini Garden is specially famous for its magnificent wisteria’s pergola, a riot of joy and senses at the end of April.

Via dell’Erta Canina

The ideal place for a marriage proposal or a photo reportage, but also a walk in solitude, to feel in the countryside in the heart of the city: it is the famous Via dell’Erta Canina, all incredibly sloping, so much so that only dogs were in able to follow it quickly (Piero Bargellini). The picturesque alley is bordered by historic villas and idyllic views of the Florentine hills.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Haven’t you declared yourself in Via dell’Erta Canina? Then do it at the foot of the David!

Piazzale Michelangelo is the obligatory stop on the Firenze Greenway. Sooner or later, everyone converges here, on this belvedere terrace overlooking the Arno, giving unforgettable emotions.

 

THE CULTURAL ASSOCIATION “FIRENZE GREENWAY”

On 4th December 2020, Architect Maria Chiara Pozzana established the “Firenze Greenway” Cultural Association for the enhancement of the landscape and itineraries in the Oltrarno area of ​​Florence. The same year, the Firenze Greenway project won the Tuscany Region Landscape Observatory Award.

The president of the Association, Maria Chiara Pozzana, a member of ICOMOS and AIAPP, was an architect in the Superintendency of Florence from 1980 to 1996. From 1996 she opened the “Architecture and Landscape” studio in Florence; she was responsible for the restoration of the Bardini Garden, worked on the Parco di Venaria in Turin and designed the gardens of Banca CR in Florence. Professor of the history of garden and landscape architecture in Genoa, Florence, Pisa, Catania and Versailles, she is the author of numerous texts, such as “The gardens of Florence and Tuscany” and “Recipes of Gardens”; she also organizes Garden Design courses and workshops open to all.

The aim of the Firenze Greenway Cultural Association is to preserve and enhance the area: the need for greenery has doubled during the pandemic, let’s not miss this opportunity to rediscover the city of Florence!

 

FIRENZE GREENWAY AND THE TRAVELLER’S NOTEBOOK

Firenze Greenway involves young and elder along the Viale dei Colli: browse the “Taccuino del Viaggiatore” (Traveller’s Notebook) on the Cultural Association website and follow the adventures of an intrepid walker walking around the “green thorn“. Illustrations by Gabriele Genini and texts by Maria Chiara Pozzana.

 

GUIDED TOURS ON THE FIRENZE GREENWAY DURING THE ESTATE FIORENTINA 2021

Initiative organized by the Cultural Association “Firenze Greenway” in partnership with My Flora Guide

A cycle of evening guided tours will animate the Florentine Summer 2021 for six Wednesdays from 6PM to 7.30PM, from June to September (16/06, 30/06, 14/07, 08/09, 15/09, 29/09).

The guided tours on the Firenze Greenway will touch two routes: the stretch from Porta Romana to Piazzale Galileo and the stretch from Piazza Poggi to Piazzale Michelangelo, to discover parks and gardens, history and anecdotes: it will be a journey back in time through places like the Park of the Royal Stables of Porta Romana, the Bobolino Gardens, the Tivoli Park and the Rampe del Poggi.

The guided tours will end in great beauty with an exclusive violin concert by Elena Craighead. As a gift for the participants the brochure with the itineraries of Firenze Greenway and a copy of the magazine Erodoto108 with an article on Firenze Greenway.

Info and bookings: info@firenzegreenway.com

We suggest you to check the online schedule of the guided tours wich is periodically kept-up-to-date on the official website: www.firenzegreenway.com

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Giannoni, F., “Il Viale dei Colli a Firenze. Storia e storie di una delle vie più belle al mondo” (Florence Art Edizioni, Firenze, 2016).

Pozzana, M., “Firenze Greenway. Giardino Bardini, Viale dei Colli” (Casalta s.a.s, Firenze, 2014).

 

USEFUL LINKS:

www.firenzegreenway.com

www.feelflorence.it

www.erodoto108.com

www.estatefiorentina.it/eventi/estate-nella-firenze-greenway

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