Villa Garzoni Garden, created in the 18th century, is one of Tuscany’s most beautiful gardens. Cascading down the hill below the 17th century Villa Garzoni, the garden merges Renaissance symmetry with the spectacular effects of the Baroque.
What to See in Garzoni Garden and Butterfly House
Visitors enter through a former agricultural building that now houses the ticket office and exhibit center where you’ll see historic photos and documents related to the villa and temporary exhibitions.
Exiting the building, you’re at the bottom of the garden with a great view of the main garden and stone staircases leading up the steep hill. You’ll notice the symmetry immediately as the right and left sides are the same with a central focal point of Neptune’s Grotto below stone stairs and a water staircase flowing from above.
Walking though the garden you’ll see a variety of statues, ranging from gods, goddesses, and emperors’ busts to peasants and animals. Seasonal flowers bloom in the lower beds, roses line some of the paths and there are box hedges and palm trees. On the pathway at the top that leads to the villa (which is not open to visitors) there’s a labyrinth. At the high point of the garden, above the water staircase, there’s a large pool with a fountain above it and a collection of 19th century camellias.
Within the garden is a butterfly house, a tropical garden inside a greenhouse where butterflies and small birds fly about freely. The butterfly house is home to hundreds of tropical butterflies of at least 13 species, coming from where the largest and most colorful butterflies are found. Butterflies land on the feeding stations where they’re easy to see. Educational panels explain the life cycle of butterflies.
Plan Your Visit to Villa Garzoni Garden
Garzoni Garden and Butterfly House are open daily from 1 March through 4 November, starting at 9AM (closing times vary by month). In other months, it’s usually open on Saturdays and holidays, 10AM to sunset. In 2018, adult tickets cost 13 euro or 22 euro for a combination ticket that includes Pinocchio Park (reduced prices for children and seniors). See Garzoni Historical Garden for current hours and prices.
Eat lunch at Villa Garzoni Restaurant by the exit, either on the nice outdoor patio or in the room upstairs with views of the garden.
While in Collodi, visit Pinocchio Park, a low-key family theme park related to the famous puppet. Follow the Pinocchio trail through the park to see puppet shows, play areas, and statues of characters from the story. Or spend a little time wandering through the hill town that rises above the river with a castle at the top.
Villa Garzoni is in Collodi, about 60 kilometers west of Florence between Montecatini Terme and Lucca. Take the A11 autostrada and exit at Chiesina Uzzanese from Montecatini and Florence or Capannori from Lucca. From Lucca there are direct buses to Collodi so you can visit as a day trip. By train, the closest station is in Pescia with a bus connections to Collodi.
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