The Iris Garden
The Iris Garden of Florence reopens its doors, as it's tradition, next 25th of April; it will stay open until May 20th. The lucky people who will be in Florence during those days will have the opportunity to witness the wonderful blooming of the more than 1500 varieties of iris that grow in the garden. This extraordinary number of species is there because of the international contest organized by the Italian Iris Society, which has been managing the garden since the 1950s: It was then that the garden itself was established, as a homage to the flower that is the symbol of Florence (the flower in the city's banner is not a lily, as most people think, but an iris, with its wonderful scent). It is so that hybridizers from all over the world give every year their creations to the garden, and wait for three years – the time the plant needs to grow - before knowing whether their flower is the winner of the prestigious contest.
Beware: the garden is built in a very natural fashion, and this is part of what makes it so fascinating; don't think you'll be visiting the typical Italian garden, made of alleys and flowerbeds – it is a romantic garden in the hills, where you can walk among olive trees and fields sprinkled with irises in bloom, which grow in small groups and whose specific type is indicated by a label. In the garden there is obviously also a small lake, which hosts the water variants of the flower, such as the Japanese Iris and the Louisiana.
From the Iris Garden, moreover, there is a wonder view on Florence. The garden is next to Piazzale Michelangelo, of the best viewpoints if you want to admire Florence from above.