Destination Italy
Garden of Iris- Firenze
Cecilia Fioravanti and Vincenzo Corti Menotti Melani Vivai
The Iris Garden covers an area of 25,000 square meters next to Piazzale Michelangelo. This true corner of paradise was created in 1954 to host the "Premio Firenze", an annual international award for the best varieties of irises organized by Flaminia Specht and Nita Stross Radicati, members of the Società Italiana Amici dei Fiori (Italian Friends of Flowers Association) and passionate hybrid growers. Few people know that Florence boasts a very special bond with the iris, with the heraldic flag of Florence not featuring a white lily, as is commonly believed, but a red iris in a white field!
The Iris Garden is one of Italy's more exclusive botanical gardens; open to the public for a limited period of the year and only for guided tours. Opening during the remaining months is solely by special request or for study trips by academics.
I am proud to say that our Agency enjoys exclusive access to the gardens and the privilege of being able to organize wonderfully-intimate and symbolic ceremonies and small reserved events. Nestled in a centuries-old olive grove overlooking the historic city centre, visitors to the garden - and Europe’s most valued collection of irises - can lose themselves along the intricate maze of stone paths and dry-stone walls.
A substantial donation of marsh irises by an American businessman in the sixties led to a small lake being built to house this lesser known aquatic species.
The meadows surrounding the pond often play host to a wide range of events; contemporary art exhibitions, small concerts, readings, yoga classes, watercolour courses and other activities related to, or otherwise, the world of botany and gardens. A large recently-built and partially-covered wooden structure in another part of the garden provides the perfect location for a small gathering or meeting. This tiny corner of paradise is managed by a handful of volunteers who offer their time and effort to preserve one of the symbols of Florence and one of the most beautiful and famous places in the world.
The Viale Poggi entrance also creates a natural link to the other historical gardens of the city such as Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens), Villa Bardini and, il Giardino delle Rose (the Rose Garden) and the opportunity to design the perfect itinerary or perform civil, humanist and symbolic weddings.