Your first stop is the Florence Botanical Garden, otherwise known as the Giardino dei Semplici (Garden of simples). This botanical garden, today part of the University of Florence (via Micheli 3) is very close to the San Marco Museum and church. The space is a small paradise smack in the center of the city, offering tranquility and shady areas away from the bustle of central Florence. Its 2.3 hectares of space are open weekdays in the morning. The garden was originally the Medici's family medicine garden (established in 1545 by Cosimo I de' Medici). Unbeknownst to many, it’s also the third oldest botanical garden after those in Pisa and Padua. In 1753, when the Società Botanica was formed, the garden's layout was slightly altered to house an "experimental agricultural" area. Today, the garden contains over 9,000 species of plants, including different types of trees, herbs, flowers, fruit trees, a lily pond, a Japanese-style garden, carnivorous plants and a lovely fountain.