I'm pretty sure you could never imagine that simply wandering through a monumental garden with an expert guide could become a...mystical experience.
In alchemy, it was believed that caves were like the wombs of the world, made fertile by the water flowing through their bowels, shaping all sorts of treasures.
The Medici family dabbled in alchemy, especially Cosimo I Medici (Cosimo I Grand Duke) and his firstborn Francis I..! Cosimo I commissioned the building of this jaw-dropping artificial cave to "seal" the alchemical significance of the renovated "all'italiana" garden and villa of Castello, which the cave itself belongs to. Both the garden and the Grotto of the Animals were designed by Tribolo, and they date back to 1537.
The Winter (or Apennine, or January) Fountain by Bartolomeo Ammannati, which sits above the cave, gave life to this particular “womb” of Mother Earth, creating nature itself.
The Unicorn is not only a symbol of purity: it also represents the philosophical mercury
which allowed the distillation of matter to take place.
So, does alchemy interest you..? Tour this magical garden and the Medici villas with a guide that really knows all there is to know about this fascinating subject..!