Forte di Belvedere s located in the southern hills of the Arno River on the highest hill of the Boboli Gardens. The fortress was built in 1590 by Bernardo Buontalenti who is also the inventor of the much loved gelato.
Getting here requires a car or good walking stamina. It is a very steep hill to climb but well worth it.
Once you are there you are greeted by a daunting flight of stairs again still worth it.
The Fort severed several purposes. Most importantly it was designed to protect the center of government in Firenze and the Medici family if the city came under attack. Galileo Galilei used it for his astronomical observations.
He lived not far and you pass his house on the way up to the fort. As a side note if you have interest in Galileo there is a book called Galileo’s Telescope. It was translated from Italian to English by my friend Catherine Bolton who I was with this evening at the Fort. I have not read it yet but from Catherine’s description it sounds fascinating.
Firenze is known for its many spectacular views and this one is high on the list. This was late September about 7:00 pm and it could not have been a more perfect evening.
Today the Forte di Belvedere constitutes a monumental, historic, artistic and environmental focal point. It serves primarily as a tourist attraction and exhibition center, hosting elite events and artistic exhibitions. Much to my chagrin while getting some back ground for this post I discovered this is where Kim Kardashian and Kanye West paid €300,000 to hire the fort as the venue for their lavish wedding. There is no way getting away from these people.
On a more positive note I went to see an exhibition that was creating a little conversation of its own. Jan Fabre is considered an important figure on the international art scene. This exhibit of his bronze sculptures titled Spiritual Guards is very dramatic and interesting and the grounds of the Forte gives it a great back drop. If you click his name you can get motor information on him and his various other art work.
For me the view is still the main draw.