Behind the unassuming facades of Via de’ Serragli lies a vast and secret garden, the Giardino Torrigiani. With nearly seventeen acres (7 hectares) hidden in the heart of Florence, this is the largest privately-owned garden in Europe situated within a historic centre.
Designed at the height of the Romantic movement in the early 19th century, this idyllic oasis of green unfolds around the original 16thcentury villa and includes rare tree species, wide English-style lawns, herb and vegetables gardens, sculptures and a beautifully restored greenhouse.
The garden design is laden with complex Masonic symbology, climaxing with an elegant neo-Gothic tower spiralling to the heavens. Almost twenty-two metres high, the tower houses a collection of astronomical instruments, a library, and a terrace for studying the sky. In the centre of a flowerbed there is a group of classic sculptures by Pio Fedi’ including a statue of Seneca, representing a young Pietro Torrigiani, and a marble column dedicated to the great botanist and mycologist, Pier Antonio Micheli.
In the end of the 19th century, the Giardino Torrigiani has also been used for the games of the Florence Football Team, the most ancient football club in Florence. The club was founded in 1898 by Piero Torrigiani, at that time Mayor of Florence, and was made up of British and Americans living in Florence, together with few members of the local aristocracy. Today the Torrigiani Malaspina and the Torrigiani Santa Cristina families are still committed to preserving and maintaining this rich historical park.