The Giglio’s city and the appointment with “his” flower
The Iris Garden of Piazzale Michelangelo was created in 1954 to give hospitality to a yearly International Competition for the best variety of Iris ‘The Florence Prize’ on the initiative of Mrs. Flamina Specht and Mrs. Nita Stross Radicati, members of the Italian Friends of Flowers Society and enthusiastic hybridisers.
Their special interest made it possible to stage the event in Florence, regarded as its natural seat because of the historic ties that the city has always had with the flower. There is, in fact, a red Iris on a white ground (and not a lily as incorrectly believed) on Florence’s banner, as emblem.
The Councillor for Arts and Gardens at that time, Piero Bargellini, sensed the importance of the initiative. He ensured that the Florence Council supported it and he managed to allocate the ground on the east side of Piazzale Michelangelo, the so called ‘Farm of the ramparts’ to the organisers, giving them the real possibility of holding the first International Iris Competition in 1954.
The Garden, initially designed by the architect G. Zetti, was inaugurated in May 1957. It was enriched, in the meantime, by donations made by numerous foreign growers and also by a large collection of historic Irises from the Presby Memorial Garden of Montclair (New Jersey), USA.
In 1967, a small lake was constructed in the lower area of the garden to allow cultivation of the Japanese and Louisiana irises in the surrounding boggy land.
Specialists, botanists, hybridisers and horticulturists from different foreign nations visit and work in the Garden because of the scientific interest it has as an important stock of germ plasma of the Iris family.
(Credits from http://www.irisfirenze.it/)
Opening days: 25 April- 20 May 2014
every day (including Sundays)
Opening times: 10.00 – 12.30 / 15.00 – 19.00
Partially accesssible to the handicapped (entrance on the Flò Lunge Bar side)
Address: Piazzale Michelangelo – Est Balcony, Florence
How to get there: Bus number 12 or 13 (Bus terminus in Santa Maria Novella Station)
Didactics: Free guided visits for groups by appointment with the Iris Society (email: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax: 0039-055483112);; courses for judges