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BOTANICAL ITINERARIES | TUSCANY The Garden, spanning approximately two and a half hectares, lies in proximity to Porta Tufi and is accessed through an entrance on the road, opened in 1866, adorned with two basins containing aquatic plants. Records of a Simples Garden, annexed to the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, used for the cultivation of medicinal plants, date back to the early 17th century. In 1784, by order of Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo of Tuscany, it was transformed into a University Botanical Garden, and a century later in 1856, it was relocated for expansion needs to a leased plot of land near the Accademia dei Fisiocritici. The current dimensions and layout are attributed to the interventions of various successive directors over time. In 1875, the hot greenhouse (old greenhouse) was constructed of iron and colored glass for the cultivation of exotic plants. In 1964, the extension was doubled, and new buildings were erected for university institutes, which incorporated a small 19th-century cold greenhouse. Three distinct sectors are discerned on the slope on which it stands.

The first, referred to as the "school," hosts on artificial terraces divided into rectangular beds plants used in pharmacy, perfumery, and cuisine. In the second, named the "park," downstream of this area, predominantly exotic trees and shrubs capable of withstanding outdoor conditions (quince, pomegranate, jujube) and plants from central-southern Tuscany are cultivated. Also noteworthy in this section of the Garden is the collection of Gymnosperms. In the third sector, even further downstream, lies the so-called "farm." A rocky garden and a recently constructed fernery showcase Tuscan plants from natural environments. In the remaining part, where an attempt has been made to maintain the appearance that the land within the walls must have once had, fruit plants subject to research are cultivated. Three greenhouses are present for the display of exotic plants.