The term ‘guerrilla’ comes from the Spanish for ‘little war’. Historically it has been utilised to refer to partisan warfare, however new and much more pleasant uses have been blooming around the world, and Florence is no exception.
However, perhaps the sweetest of them all -or the sweetest smelling at least- is Guerrilla Gardening^.
This is the beautification of public spaces by private individuals who randomly plant seeds or already-blooming flowers and plants in any public space. This may include the centre of roundabouts, along the sides of pavements, at bus stops, in public parks and piazzas, along cobbled laneways or any other possible public area you can dig a spade into.
Certainly one of the reasons Florence and the stunning villages in the Tuscan surrounds are so charming is owing to the ever-present plants and flowers in terracotta pots on windowsills and balconies, the plush sprawling gardens of Villa estates, the rolling hillsides speckled with olive trees and raked with grape vines, and the fields humming with the yellow of blooming sunflowers turned in adoration towards the sun, the purple-toned lavender fields and the startling red of wild poppies planted by the greatest gardener of them all – Mother Nature.
What’s more, it is still common practice for Tuscan families to own entire blocks of land dedicated solely to the growing of fruit and vegetables for their own needs.
However, one can never really tire of seeing an extra flowering plant sprouting in unexpected places.
And so it is that in Florence, certain locals have been further beautifying the stunning city centres, some planting seeds in whatever terrain-filled spaces are available in urban areas, whilst others place already-blooming plants for an immediate extra splash of colour.
On a larger (and somewhat more authorised and coordinated) scale, there are Guerrilla Gardening groups who organise community projects to beautify public parks, courtyards and the like, turning abandoned urban areas and courtyards into colourful spaces to be freely admired and enjoyed by the whole community.
For private spaces, Urban Gardeners spend time developing and implementing ingenious ways to utilise balcony and rooftop spaces for the growing of flowers and herbs, whilst Urban Farming is more about home-grown fruit and vegetables, both with a focus on utilising natural and recycled products.
To visit gardens in Florence, one of the most splendid is arguably the Boboli Gardens, the must-visit backyard of the Pitti Palace. The Boboli Garden is open from November through February, 8:15am to 4:30pm, and until 5:30pm throughout March, then from April through October, from 8.15am to 6:30pm. Tickets cost around 8 euro per person.
See stunning Tuscan gardens on the Taste of Tuscany at the Villa wine tour to explore historic wine estates before undertaking a wine tasting. Tread through the terrain, enjoying spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside up-close and personal.
You can also visit charming hilltop towns of Siena and San Gimignano and Monteriggioni on our small-group Best of Tuscany small-group tour. See the stunning Tuscan landscape in one spectacular day tour from Florence, immerse yourself in the Tuscan wine-producing countryside and enjoy a wine tasting and cellar visit.
Stroll through the Tuscan countryside for a Perfect Morning in Tuscany small-group walking tour. Leaving from Florence’s city centre and heading to the surrounding countryside, this small-group walking tour also includeslunch with wine at a stunning Renaissance Villa Estate, accompanied by an expert tour guide.
If you would like to have a private guide accompanying you, we have private tours that cater to your every desire. From Florence (and Tuscany) to Rome, Venice to the Cinque Terre and beyond, we are at your beck and call.
To explore other areas of Italy, can check out our Artviva Walking Tours website to read more about our Florence tours, Rome tours, Venice tours, the Cinque Terre , Umbria, Naples, Pompeii and more.
* Guerrilla Filmmaking: filmmakers record footage in public places without elaborate settings to make more realistic (and budget-friendly) films and documentaries. This filming technique is not just for the poor and struggling artist however. Famed directors, producers and screenwriters including Spike Lee (Malcom X, Miracle at St. Anna, Red Hook Summer), Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, From Dusk to Dawn I-III, Sin City, Machete Kills) and Darren Aronofsky (The Swan, The Wrestler, The Fighter) have all utilised the technique with big box office results.
* Guerrilla Knitting: involves the covering of public items such as telegraph poles, parking meters, fences and the like with brightly coloured knitted material.
^ Whilst we love flowers and plants, and are very proud of our private gardening efforts, our agency does not support any activities undertaken without appropriate permits or permissions. We encourage anyone who wishes to involved in any such actions to inform themselves on the pertinent regulations imposed in their own local community prior to partaking in such.