We got back to the gardens yesterday afternoon. They are vast, and have some interesting spots, but are by and large overgrown. The most attractive sections with flowers are closed to the public (some of those might be open on weekdays, come to think of it).
The hedges are 30+ feet high. The wide avenues are impressive and they are edged by walking paths covered over by espaliered hollies that form shady tunnels.
Down at the far end is a huge pool and fountain; two gated walkways lined with potted fruit trees could be used by the "royals" to go to the island in the middle. You can picture that a hundred years ago or so the trees and shrubs would have been at their best and that the maintenance for such a vast garden space would be no problem.
Last night we went a bit further to a concert in the Orsanmichele church. I just asked John how far that was, and it's a bit hard to estimate because of the curves of the street and the kinks caused by the old Roman wall. He said about a quarter of a mile. The concert was by the Orchestra Da Camera Fiorentina, the Florence chamber orchestra that supposedly ranks among the best in Europe. It was awesome. They played pieces by Piazzolla, Mozart, Santos and Turina. I particularly enjoyed the Mozart Sinfonia Concerto for Violin and Viola. The soloists were so appreciated by the audience (perhaps 125 people) that they did an encore before continuing with the rest of the program. And that encore-we didn't catch the name of course-contained some of the most amazing string work I've ever heard. And of course if your mind wanders, you can gaze at the ancient frescoes or altarpieces (see John's blog about Orsanmichele). Quite an experience.