Neptune and his ducks are about to get a lot wetter, view from
Boboli in the rain, the view from the toilets, we got to know this well.
Once the rain stopped we resumed our explorations and a few turns and a twisty path or two took us to the Ragnaia della Pace
an area originally set aside for netting birds. In order to attract
their feathered friends a series of drinking troughs were provided
today known as the Fountain of the Mostaccini presumably a comment of the grotesque faces which adorn the upper section of this feature.
The Fountain of the Mostaccini
: upper section looking north east, lower section looking west.
The final major feature on our itinerary was the famous Island Pool (Vasca dell'Isola).
As it happened pools plus islands had not been major feature of the
gardens we had studied up to this point but given our interest in
Hanwell's House of Diversion we were certainly on the look out for
them. This was a huge example and was approached via a causeway flanked
by columns with 18th. century capricorns another Medici family symbol.
At the centre was Giambologna's Ocean Fountain of 1576 relocated here
from the Amphitheatre in 1636. Unfortunately the gates were locked and
we could only observe the island from a distance. Oddly the well known
semi-submerged statue of Perseus on horseback seemed to have
disappeared, presumably removed for restoration. I'm not
sure we learned anything of great value here except to note that
the surface of the island is only standing a short distance above
the level of the water
The approach to the Isola from the north
General view from the west, note no Perseus.
On the way out we caught one more grotto, this one known as the Grotto
of Moses which features some rather disturbing swimming cherubs... or
are they drowning?
Drying out on the steps of the Costume Museum, the hat will never be the same again.
Our final Tuscan garden was nailed
on the last Friday, June 13th. and proved in many ways to be the most
rewarding. this was the garden of the Villa Garzoni
in the village of Collodi, just round the corner from where we were
staying. We had obtained permission in advance to undertake survey
work and photography and so were a little disconcerted at having to
ring the bell fairly frequently over a period of around quarter of an
hour before one of the gardeners appeared to let us in. the gardens
were laid out by Romano Garzoni in the first half of the 17th. century
however most of the visible remains date from further improvements
during the following century. The garden has a little of everything and
makes full use of the copious supplies of water from the hills to the
north and the 45 metre drop on the main south west facing slope.
The view, the grand staircase and the great water chain, view from south west.
I was particularly keen to see the
way the terracing and steps were treated as a possible parallel for
what we are hoping to find on the great east terrace at Hanwell. In the
middle of the second terrace was the rather fine Grotto of
was intriguing to see the variety of decorative materials used in this
instance including large chunks of a greenish glass. Beyond the third
terrace with its flanking statues of a male and female satyr and a
lively troop of terracotta monkeys is the water chain. This is
prefigured by a small grotto with some rather ungainly birds presiding
over it. the chain is in three parts and central decorative strip
flanked by two parallel sets of giant stairs down which the water
flows. A growth of papyrus rather conceals one of the central features
which is a huge mask or face heavily stretched on anamorphic principles
so as to appear normally proportioned if seen from the parterres below.
Surmounting all this is a final pool into which an enormous statue of
Fame discharges water.
The second terrace with the entry to the Grotto of Neptune with the
Villa Garzoni in the background, looking north and inside the grotto.
Verna went to huge lengths to get just the right angle on the close ups
and here's an example, note the potential to squirt water from the nostrils.
Our completed plan.
The start of the water chain looking north east with details of the decoration including coloured glass.
I'm not sure exactly what kinds of birds these are supposed to be.... suggestions?
the anamorphic giant: his mouth with brick like teeth covered in quartz and his big bulgy eyes, both views from the south east.
Fame spouting forth, view from south east, the building to the right is a former bath house.
On into the rest of the park, a dragon capped gate pier and the beautiful Ponte sul Rio
which gives a view down into an early example of a labyrinth.
The end of the visit, looking down to the south west on to the parterres at the foot of the terracing.