The Gorgeous Garzoni Garden

Garzoni Garden CollodiIn the nearby village of Collodi is the Garzoni Garden and Butterfly House. The garden was originally begun around 1652 by the Garzoni family when they converted an old castle into an impressive Baroque style 4 story house with belvedere tower and roof statues.

At the entrance is a delightful series of photos of past guests.

Garzoni Garden Collodi

Garzoni Garden Collodi

Garzoni Gardens Collodi

The garden was originally in the Italian style. In the 18th century it was embellished with the addition of terraces, balustrades, mazes, waterfalls, fountains, grottoes and statuary. It was designed by Ottavio Diodati. The garden’s reputation spread all over Europe and influenced many others.

Garzoni Garden Collodi

Garzoni Garden CollodiGarzoni Garden CollodiGarzoni Garden CollodiThere are some marvellous decorations.

A lovely feature of the garden is the Butterfly House. It is a fairly recent addition. The estate was sold by the Garzoni family in the 1920s. It passed through several owners in sequence and its existence became precarious. Thanks to the current owner in collaboration with the Fondazione Carlo Collodi and the Sviluppo Turistico Collodi Ltd, it gained back its former glory, and the butterfly house was added.

I braved the awful heat and humidity and wiped the steam from my camera lens to take photos of the flowers, birds and butterflies.

Butterfly House Collodi

Butterfly House Collodi

Butterfly House Collodi

Butterfly House Collodi

Butterfly House Collodi

Butterfly House Collodi

Butterfly House Collodi

Butterfly House Collodi

I visited the garden on a sunny autumn day.  Garzoni Garden is open all year, but the Butterfly House closes in winter.

It is a relatively easy drive from Bagni di Lucca. Take the road to Benabbio and keep going down the other side of the mountain towards Collodi. There is a big car park outside Pinocchio Park and the gardens are a short walk from there.

Pinocchio Park

I guess you all know that The Adventures of Pinocchio was inspired by Carlo Lorenzini‘s time in Collodi, which is a short drive from Bagni di Lucca. It is where his mother was born and he spent some happy childhood years there. The book is written under the pseudonym Carlo Collodi, echoing his love for the village.

Collodi decided to make the most of the connection, and in 1956 Pinocchio Park opened to welcome visitors to the world of Pinocchio. I visited on a quiet autumn day and had the park almost to myself…come for a walk with me.

Collodi is a pretty village ( the old bit ) and needs to be discovered another day.

Collodi

A giant Ponocchio welcomes you to Collodi.

Pinocchio in Collodi

At the entrance is a lovely sculpture of Ponicchio with Geppetto.

 

Pinocchio and Geppetto

Before you enter the park there is a museum with Pinocchio related artefacts.

…and a collection of Pinocchio books from different decades and countries.

The park has seen better days and could do with a bit of a makeover, but it still has a certain charm.

Pinocchio Park

Pinocchio Park

Pinocchio Park

I particularly liked the tiny houses filled with puppets and Pinocchio characters.

The walking path winds through the park and there is a delightful character at every turn.

Pinocchio Park

Special mention goes to the fox and the cat.

Pinocchio Park

The cat is packing a gun…and a bottle of coke.

Pinocchio Park

There is a fairly impressive pirate ship, which must be full of children in busy times.

Pinocchio Park

The whale is even more impressive.

Pinocchio Park

Pinocchio Park

On the way out the gift shop has a little workshop like Geppetto’s.

Pinocchio Park

Pinocchio Park has had some less than kind reviews on various sites, but I followed a little boy around the paths and he was excitedly explaining to his mother each of the characters he came upon. He knew them all and had a tale to tell about each one (with special voices and much arm waving) .

If you go, read the book beforehand and take a child who has read the book. It will be fun.

A single adult ticket costs €11, but for €15 the ticket includes the nearby Giardino Garzoni, which will be the subject of another post.

Pinocchio Park

pinocchio.it