The crystal palace of Florence’s Tepidarium
According to Francis Bacon, without gardens “buildings and palaces are but gross handy-works”; the English philosopher also explained that in history, “when ages grow to civility and elegance, men come to build stately, sooner then to garden finely: as if gardening were the greater perfection.”
We cannot imagine that the buildings in Florence could ever resemble “gross handy-works”, even if all the gardens disappeared at once. But we can agree the beautiful city would feel a little spare.
Luckily, we will never have to find out: there are, and there always will be, many gorgeous gardens in Florence.
The Horticultural Garden stands out among them. It is annexed to the glass and iron Tepidarium designed by architect Giacomo Roster in the late 1800s, a 650-square-meter “crystal palace” (as it was described by a journalist on “Nazione” in 1880) that was technically meant to be a greenhouse, but in fact was designed to host national and international exhibitions and events.
It is proof that wonderful buildings and gardens can coexist, contributing together to the beauty of a city.