Commissioned during the height of the Medici family’s reign in 16th-century Florence, Buontalenti Grotto (Grotta del Buontalenti) is the largest grotto in the city. Sculptures of mythical creatures and man-made stalagmites covering its facade and interior make the grotto one of the most popular landmarks in the Boboli Gardens.
Start your visit to the Boboli Gardens with a stop at Buontalenti Grotto. Roam the grotto’s three cavernous rooms, each painted with frescoes and adorned with sculptures that depict mythical and religious figures. The grotto is often closed, but don’t worry if you can’t get inside: Sculpted stalagmites on the grotto’s facade are equally impressive.
Walking tours of Boboli Gardens ensure you learn about the gardens’ best-kept secrets as well as more background about the curious-looking grotto. Medici Mile and Pitti Palace tours provide dramatic historical context about the family who ruled Florence from the 15th to 17th century. For a more intimate experience, take a private tour and add a Buontalenti Grotto stop onto your customized itinerary.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Call ahead to ensure that the grotto is open during your visit.
- Bathrooms are located at the entrance.
- There is a fee to enter the gardens.
- To round out your day, tack a visit to Pitti Palace onto your Boboli Gardens trip.
- Wheelchair-accessible entrances are located at Pitti Square and Porta Romana Square. The garden is accessible but it is advised to bring a companion, as the clay and gravel slopes have inclines and descents. The grotto has two small steps.
How to Get There
Buontalenti Grotto and the Boboli Gardens are located on the south bank of the Arno River. Enter the gardens through the main gates on Via Romana, across the street from Corsi Garden (Giardino Corsi Annalena). As the streets around the gardens are winding and narrow, the best way to get there is on foot.
When to Get There
The grotto is open at various points throughout the day—usually at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm—during the summer. The Boboli Gardens are in full bloom during the spring and summer, both lovely seasons to visit Florence (despite the unavoidable crowds).
Buontalenti Grotto and the Boboli Gardens feature prominently in Dan Brown’s best-selling novel Inferno. His main characters, Robert Langdon and Sienna Brooks, narrowly escape through the gardens’ pathways. No spoilers here, but one of the most thrilling scenes in the book occurs in the grotto’s chambers.