Parco delle Cascine, the largest public park in Florence
If you are a music lover, you may have attended a concert given by your favourite band in the gardens or the Amphitheatre delle Cornacchie in Florence's Cascine Park. If you have not yet done so, we suggest you make up for it quickly: the park's programme of events is dense and varied, satisfying all tastes.
When they hunted here
The park, which covers approximately 118 hectares, is the largest public park in Florence.
At the time of the Medici, its farmsteads were used for hunting and cattle breeding. In 1937, thanks to the design of the famous architect Raffaello Fagnoni, the buildings housing the Aviation School were constructed. The Fattoria Granducale, on the other hand, houses the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Florence.
Woods and meadows, but nature is not the only star
There are plenty of things to see in the Cascine Park. From the large forest to explore, where you will find specimens of Atlas cedars, elms, pines, horse chestnuts and poplars, to the vast meadows where you can practice sports or spend a day outdoors organising group games and picnics.
Be careful not to be misled, because contrary to what it may seem, such bountiful nature is not the only reason to visit the Parco delle Cascine: in fact, the place also holds numerous treasures of Florence's art history, all waiting to be discovered.
Columns, lionesses and the gardens of Attilio Pucci
From the statue of Victor Emmanuel II made in 1890 by Emilio Zocchi and placed in the square of the same name, to the majestic lionesses in the Cascine. Then the pietra serena Columns, built by architect Manetti in the 19th century to decorate the park and mark its main paths.
Also: the Giardini della Catena, created by Attilio Pucci; here you will find the famous Grotta del Frate with an adjacent pond: recently restored, it carries this name because inside it there was a painting of a hermit.
Also not to be missed is the Narcissus Fountain, created in 1971 by architect Giuseppe Manetti: this work inspired the poet Percy Bishe Shelley, author of the poem Ode to the West Wind.
In the centre of the park also stands a Monument dedicated to George Washington and strongly desired by the American community in Florence in 1932.
In the large meadow, the highlights are the Fontana delle Boccacce, originally a drinking hole for grazing animals, and the above-mentioned Amphitheatre of the Cornacchie, carved out of a sand quarry in the 1970s.
There is also a pyramid, but Egypt has nothing to do with it
But the real icing on the cake is the pyramid along the Viale degli Olmi.
If you think about its origins, it is easy to imagine that someone brought it from Egypt. Instead, the structure was built in 1796 by the architect Giuseppe Manetti to be used as an icebox: in fact, there are still niches inside for storing food.
And finally, the Tempietto dell'Indiano, built in 1870 by the sculptor Fuller in honour of Rajaram Chuttraputti , a young Indian prince who died in Florence during a journey. Legend has it that his body was cremated on that very spot.