Modest in size, the Corsi Annalena Garden is laid out in terraces overlooking the Via dei Serragli, terracing undoubtedly being the best way of organising a garden when there is little surface area. The result affords a panoramic view of the countryside around Florence, extending from the urban fabric itself to the vast green area of Parco dei Torrigiani and the hills beyond. There is even a underground passageway linking this garden to the BoBoli and to the Parco dei Torrigiani, making it possible to get from Palazzo Pitti to the countryside beyond the city walls without being disturbed.
However this passageway is only one of the secrets of this beautiful garden, which owes its name to Countess Anna Elena Malatesta. In the fifteenth century she had a monastery built here, which was subsequently destroyed by Cosimo I as a defensive measure during a war with the Sienese. Later the site was acquired by the Corsi family, who at the beginning of the nineteenth century commissioned Giuseppe Manetti to design the layout of what would be the first “Romantic” garden in the city, complete with all the associated amenities.
You can anticipate what lies inside the garden from the external corner between Via Romana and Via de’ Mori, where stands a Tempio del Canto (Temple of Song). A good three metres above the pavement level – thus revealing the raised level of the garden itself – this Tempio (‘kiosk’) is cipolete with a niche for the statue of Mercury, the god of travellers, who stood there to welcome the visitors who entered Florence by the Siena road.
The entire garden is, in fact, full of statues – from a complete series of The Muses in terracotta to a copy of Verrocchio’s Putto with Dolphin. There is also a greenhouse, a fountain and, alongside the terrace, decorative stucco-work and a semicircular bench in wrought iron.
This beautiful garden forms a wonderful aesthetic ensemble – and the nest time you are in Florence, it is well worth applying to the owners for permission to visit.