At the same time that work was being done on the enlargement of Pitti Palace, begun in 1550 soon after its possession by the family Medici, the park behind the palace also originated and grew, staged along the slope of the hills of Boboli (320,000 square meters) and accessible also from the Piazza. The name was probably derived from the "Borgoli" or "Borgolini" family, who owned houses and land in this area of Oltrana adjacent to Santa Felicita. But it was from the family De' Rossi, that in 1418, Luca di Bonaccorso Pitti acquired the area and the farm that stood on it. The fame of the Boboli Gardens however originated with the Medici's, who called Niccolò Pericoli, nicknamed the "Tribolo", to design the garden. An artist who had already proved his talents by designing the medicean villas of Castello and Petraia. Between 1150 and 1558, the year the artist died, he created the Boboli garden, his work of art of "green architecture".
As a model for all the royal gardens of Europe, including Versailles, the park was soon enriched by style creations of Buontalenti (for example the Grotta Grande), from the fountains and statues of Amannati, Gianbologna, and Tacca and in the end completed by Giulio and Alfonso Parigi (1631-1656). The two architects, father and son, constructed the Amphitheatre in stone, a priviledged place for celebrity performances, the avenue named "Viottolone" and the square with the bath of Isolotto. The last additions, like the Kafeehouse (1774-1776), the Field of Pillars (1776), and the Limonaia (1785), are due to Lorena, who in the the 1800's transformed some areas in accordance to the new romantic taste of the "English Garden".
In 1776, by will of Pietro Leopoldo, the garden was opened to the public. On the summit of the hill, near Fort Belvedere, you will find the Garden of the Cavalier, a secluded and secret place.
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