Discovering Pisa with kids: two hours at the oldest Botanical garden in the world!

– Tour Pisa with kids beyond  the Leaning Tower;  -Discover the eight sections of  ‘Orto Botanico’, the oldest university botanical garden in the world: 1. Botanical School; 2. Botanical Museum; 3. Cedar garden; 4. Myrtle garden; 5. Greenhouses; 6. Arcangeli Square; 7. New Garden; 8. Gratta Garden.

Quercus virginia - 'The Virginia Live Oak' - at the botanic garden since 1829

While in Pisa, I would defenitely recommend you visit the ‘Orto botanico’, the second oldest university botanical garden in the world–after the one created in Padoa in1345.

Founded four hundred years ago, it changed its location twice before finding its best place in the shadow of the Leaning Tower! So, after a tour of the ‘Field of Miracles’, you only walk a few steps and enter a truly precious green oasis, as big as four soccer fields, where about 6.000 plants are growing under the supervision of passionate gardeners!

There are eight sections to be explored.  You begin your visit from the ‘Botanical School’ and finish at the ‘Orto del Gratta’ for a two hour marvelous adventure – my six years old son, Dario, confirms it!

The ‘Botanical school’, already ‘giardino dei semplici’ is the oldest part and there you find officinal plants that were used to heal people, like siege and licorice!

Magnolia from USA - at the Botanical Garden since 1787, it is 30 meters high

A quick visit of the Botanical Museum is worth doing – you cannot help but notice its façade with an amazing grotesque decoration: on the way in or out, you can enjoy looking for some interesting fossils, like a leaf, besides the beautiful sea shells!

-Inside the museum, I would point out:

1) The room with marvelleous, exotic animals and strange objects, the Wunderkammer,

2) The old wooden entrance door to the garden with interesting carvings; and,

3) wax and plaster model of mushrooms, truffles included!

Botanical Musem - Wunderkammer

You then head to the ‘Orto del Cedro’ that hosts ancient but imposing trees: a ‘special’ magnolia, a Ginko Biloba, that made its appearance on our planet during the Dinosaur Era and a Virginia Oak that is referred to as the ‘Botanical Garden Flat’ because it hosts many other plants(like ferns, mosses and dwarf palm) and several animals live on its branches (insects, reptiles, birds and small mammals).

Then, let your kids spend some time in the labyrinth of Bamboo grove: Dario enjoyed it very much!

Dario enjoyes in the Bamboo grove

Of the four different green houses available, Dario’s favorite one was the Victoria’s – these amazing water plants can reach 2 metres in diameter and are so strong that can hold the waight of a child!

Dario discovers the succulent greenhouse

However also the ‘Banano’, ‘Succulent’ and Tropical green houses are worth visiting!

Chilean Wine Palm - at the botanical garden since 1890

Once passed by ‘Arcangeli’ square where a palm from Chile outstands, you reach the newest sections of the garden, the ‘Orto Nuovo’ and ‘Orto del Gratta’ where you can look for the ‘Death Tree’, the lovely pond with loto plants; you can then walk on the top of the small hill overlooking the Leaning Tower!

Dario stands by the pond with loto plants

If you wished to book a private guided tour of this hidden treasure of Pisa besides ‘the Leaning Tower tour’, do not hesitate to contact me!
I will be happy to be your guide there, too!

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