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Parco Delle Cascine Florence, Italy

Archduke Alessandro bought the first nucleus of the Isola Estate, known today as the Parco delle Cascine, in the mid-1500s and Cosimo I subsequently expanded the estate. The park's present name is derived from the farms on the estate, which were primarily dedicated to cattle raising (a cascina is a barn). Since a majestic tree-lined lane has dominated the beginning of the 17th century the park, first known as the Stradone dei Pini and subsequently as the Stradone del Re.

The park was reorganised under Pietro Leopoldo who also added gardening facilities and a guardhouse. It was also opened to the public for special events and Ascension Day. It was conceived of as an essentially wild area whose only fixed structure was a hunting lodge built by G. Manetti in 1786, where the Archduke and his family could stay. The following year, in occasion of Archduchess Maria Teresa's wedding, all the old buildings were demolished. In the second half of the 18th century Archduchess Elisa made the park public, thus giving the city a vast green area very different from the gardens within the courtyards of the city's palaces.The Archduchess also had a new entrance added to the park at Porta al Prato, where the Baluardo del Serpe was breached and a wide road avenue built to the Arno. At the same time, the street that paralleled the river was straightened and paved. In the 19th century the gardens of the Cascine were laid out in a romantic style, and looked very different than they do now. Also, in the course of the 19th century large areas of the park were transformed into sporting facilities, including racetracks.

Address: Parco delle Cascine
Opening Times: always open
Ticket: free