03 Mar 2010

The oldest university botanic garden in the world and a peaceful place to hide from the crowds of Piazza dei Miracoli.

The Botanic Garden in Pisa

Yesterday I did something I hadn’t done in a long, long time: I went to the Botanic Garden in Pisa. Founded in 1544 by Luca Ghini, it was originally on the river bank by the Medicean shipyard, and was moved to its present location in 1591. It was the first university botanic garden in the world, and the oldest botanic garden to still be part of a university.

The oldest part of the botanic garden

The oldest part of the botanic garden

Up until 10 years ago, you didn’t have to pay to go in. I used to go there for lunch or to read in between classes, or to study. I graduated from the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature and the main faculty building backs onto the garden.

Now there is a small entrance fee of 2,50 euros, and it’s open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, and on Saturday from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm.

I have always loved the botanic garden: being inside its walls is like being in the countryside rather than being just a few steps away from Piazza dei Miracoli. No street noise: only the the rustling of leaves and the whisper of the wind through the branches of the trees and through the tall canes.

My favourite part is the Orto del Cedro, which is right opposite to my office. There is a 22o year old magnolia tree (the tag says it was planted in 1787) and a Renaissance fountain.

Orto del Cedro

The old magnolia

Yesterday I was a bit disappointed to see that the bench under the pergola of wisteria I used to sit on all the time is gone, and the water in the fountain is covered in some green stuff. It seemed a bit abandoned, but it might be that it’s still early in the year, and they haven’t started the spring work yet.

The spot where the bench used to be and my office in the background

I took a walk in the “arboretum“, the section of the garden dedicated to trees typical of mild climates. There is also an old fountain and a small artificial lake with aquatic plants. And I noticed that you can see the Leaning Tower and the roof of the Cathedral from there. Very pretty!

There were also a lot of black birds which I love!

Comments

  1. I’ve been to Pisa so many times… but never visited the city’s Botanic Garden and missed a great photo opportunity : the Leaning Tower behind palm trees! 🙂

  2. LOL! Thank you for your comment Marion! Well you are a much better photographer than I am, so I am sure next time you’ll manage to capture that in a much more impressive way!

  3. i bet this would be a good easter weekend activity! I’ll tweet it!

  4. Thank you Alexandra! Not sure it’s open on Easter though.

  5. Fantastic post! I’ve been to Pisa many times and seem to have missed the opportunity to visit! Definitely will tweet!

  6. Thank you Clau! Not many people know about the botanic garden. Too bad is being caught in the general lack of funds that the University of Pisa is going through.

Trackbacks

  1. […] subscribe to our RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!Partner blog At Home in Tuscany advise us to visit Pisa’s botanic gardens. This beautiful and peaceful location offers welcome respite during a hectic European […]

Leave a Comment