Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 18, 2014

Going bananas in Florence

The last thing you would expect to see in the centre of Florence is a banana plant growing. I came across this scene a while ago and it always amuses me when I walk along Borgo S.S. Apostoli.


The bananas are in the delightful garden which is the entrance to the Aria Art Gallery.


Here is a sneak peek at part of their current collection.


The building which houses the gallery dates back to 1534, but the gallery took over the space in 2009 and exhibits international contemporary art.

One of the benefits of being in fabulous Florence in winter is having the city almost to yourself…Ponte Vecchio without crowds.


Piazza Signoria almost to yourself.


…no queue at the Uffizzi Gallery.


And if your are really lucky the sun will come out as it did for me on my last visit.

Aria Art Gallery…Borgo Santi Apostoli 40, Florence

(39) 055 216150

Hours…Monday – Saturday: 10.30 – 13.30 and 15.30 – 19.30


  1. I wonder if the banana plant bears fruit. Florence without the crowds would be such a luxury. We have only been there when you can barely cross the Ponte Vecchio due to the overwhelming crowds.

    • I don’t know whether the plants would produce fruit. I am amazed that they survive at all.

  2. Love the banana trees! I’ve tried to grow them here in the north but they’ve never survived. How beautiful and wintry Florence seems through your lens! It’s so crazy in summer…

    • I think it would be too cold to produce bananas in Florence. There is a garden in Bagni di Lucca with plants. I must ask the owners if they ever get bananas. It is certainly hot enough in summer, but the winters can be very cold.
      Florence on a good day in winter is heavenly.

  3. I love the look of banana trees. We had one in our garden in the Uk which did have small bananas !! but too small to eat. Maybe I`ll try to grow one in Bagni.

    • There used to be banana plants near your house, on the road to Villagio Globale. You should give them a try.

  4. Beautiful season to be in Florence , without all the crowds of tourists. I did that one time in Venice, some years ago, spending there a week foggy and misty days , no tourists, it was like Venice was mine!!!

    • It is great to be in Italy in the off season. It is so much better without heat and crowds.

  5. Love that banana tree and its tropical touch. Doubt that the fruit will be any good (Europe’s biggest banana producer is Spain; however, the fruit comes from the Canary Islands and not the mainland), but just the foliage is beautiful,
    Love the Ponte Vecchio, one of my favourite places in Florence. Not really keen on the brassy, shiny merchandise sold by some, but the antique dealers who have some beautiful pieces. A pleasure to see…

    • Bananas grow in Queensland…I can’t imagine they would cope with the cold winters here.

  6. The photographs are beautiful.

  7. Nice images, banana plants near the art gallery… very interesting.

    • I’m sure they would grow much better where you live.

      • Yea 🙂

        I think they are seen more in tropical places, right? and it’s a common plant in each and every house here in south India.

  8. I Loved Florence when I was there as a high school Senior

    • Florence is a beautiful city. I am lucky to be able to go there so often.

  9. Since I will never get to go there…this was lovely. And I didn’t have to close my eyes to see…just open them wide and enjoy!


    • I hope you see Florence one day.

  10. Hehe it’s a bit of Queensland in Florence! Definitely unexpected 😛

    • The plants seem quite out of place, but great just the same.

  11. Hmmmm–I wouldn’t have expected to see a banana tree either. I’m curious to know if there was fruit?

    Hope you’ve enjoying your weekend, Debra!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • I doubt that the fruit would grow, but the plants look healthy. It is raining and miserable this weekend, but what can you do?

  12. I’m homesick for Italy…..! How long will you be in Bagni?
    I imagine those banana trees in Florence must be a sight. It’s so wonderful to read your blog. Thanks Debra. Love, Sondra

    • I am going home to Brisbane in a few days but I will be back mid March.

  13. As ever, Firenze is full of surprises. Banana tress and without crowds are two of them!

  14. I wish I could jump on a plane right now! Keep the beautiful photos coming!

  15. Some old favourites here…. 😉

    • Have too many favourites here in Italy.

      • I know… the longer you’re there…. Non basta una vita….

      • No, one life is not enough.

  16. I haven’t spent much time in Florence, just a night or 2 but I’d love to spend more time (and watch out for the banana tree!)

  17. Florence with a banana tree in the dead of winter! An amazing thought. Nice post with lovely photos! Thank you for a fun article…

    • I amazed that the plants grow there at all…who would have thought?

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