Florence-Torrigiani Private Estate Tour-Girls Trip 2021

Our Florence Girls Trip 2021, after an eleven-hour sleep, began with a walk around our local neighborhood in the Oltrarno. More local and less tourist is always my preferred location when travelling. Locals, especially artisans, live in the Oltrarno neighborhood which is on the “other” side of the Arno River far away from the tourist madness surrounding the Duomo. Our ARBNB was in a villa owned by sisters, who now rent out half of it (3 bedroom/2 bath) with a full kitchen and lovely outside space and then they live in the other half with their families. It was lovely. Spread out over three floors (with stone sloping steep stairs and a tiny elevator only to help with luggage), we did get a workout over the week.

Just outside the villa gates (secured with key and very safe) and directly across the street was the back entrance to Boboli Gardens. Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, we strolled the paths, walked up many flights of stairs (get in shape before you come to Italy!) and saw beautiful views of downtown Florence and the countryside. Totally worth a few hours of your life to soak in the beauty of this oasis. We exited on the far side away from our ARBNB, which is next to Pitti Palace, and picked up some groceries for the week at the local Carrefour market.

After a brief rest, we were ready to walk the Giardino Torrigiani gardens in the family estate located in the Oltrarno. The largest private garden in Europe within the circle of the walls of a city, it covers over 17 acres. The Torrigiani family has owned the grounds since the early 1800’s. My sister discovered this unique experience on one of the many travel sites we researched for our trip. I emailed one of the Torrigiani family members and set up all the details.

Tommaso Torrigiani took us on a private tour of his family’s gardens, which showcases many elements with different influences from the Masons to the UK and was laid out to represent the seasons of life from birth to death. He shared the history and stories of his family’s heritage. The grassy field has been used in the past to relaunch the local football team. The beautiful tower is the Torrigiani family pillar and houses a library and a crypt. I will never forget herbs crumbling under our feet as we walked the garden, releasing their fragrances. Of course, the hemlock tree was used for nefarious poisoning in the past, so we avoided touching that one. A riverbed, dug with hopes of tapping into the city water, has laid dry for centuries as the water rights were denied to the family. Now and forever, it will be a river of leaves only.

Following our stroll, we entered the impressive family villa, meeting Uncle Vieri along the way. Ciao! We climbed the grand staircase to the outdoor patio where we had our multi-course dinner. I’m a vegetarian so they went out of their way to provide a sampling of local Tuscan delicacies that didn’t involve meat. Course after course kept coming out from Tommaso’s wife, our chef for the night, with local Vermentino white wine freely being poured and shared. Tommaso joined us for dinner and explained each course, where the ingredients came from and the history of the family recipes. Together, we enjoyed an amazing Italian feast:

Tomato and mozzarella with his family’s home grown olive oil and basil harvested from the property

Cheese, pear puree and grapes

Liver pate (for everyone but me!)

Tuscan bread soup-a traditional way to use leftover Italian bread, which generally has no salt and is pretty tasteless

Eggplant parmesan

Roasted pepper and cheese crostini

Breaded zuccini


As the crescent moon beamed at us high up in the sky and the party at the villa next door kicked up, complete with music, we ended our adventure and walked just a few blocks back to our place, ready for a good rest. Truly an experience I will never forget. Enjoy the journey!

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