Rowan Moore, a writer for The Guardian, curating a list of the most remarkable urban parks, highlights the Boboli Gardens in Florence, transporting visitors to the Renaissance era, beginning in the 16th century. These gardens are distinguished by their meticulous layout, exquisite sculptures, and the majestic presence of the Palazzo Pitti overseeing them.

Once the Medicis’ principal playground, the Boboli Gardens are, at their simplest, a nice place from which to get a view of Florence, but they are very much more than that. They play out a duel between culture and nature that ranges from a symmetrical central theatre to shadowy woods and the be-stalactited Grotta Grande, whose statues of Venus and of Paris and Helen snogging are, frankly, pornographic. The placing of planes of water on its steep slope gives the garden a levitating quality. The Italian renaissance is sometimes seen as the triumph of order and taste: the Boboli shows it was more interesting than that.

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