Parco delle Cascine: introduction
Purchased by Duke Alessandro in the mid 1500's, subsequently enlarged by Cosimo I, the Cascine Park takes its name from the buildings used for the raising of cattle once situated on the land. Until the 17th century the Cascine Park featured a great avenue of trees known as the "Stradone dei Pini" or "Stradone del Re".
Initially it was opened to the public exclusively for special occasions such as Ascension Day. In 1786 the only building in the park was to become the residence of the Grand Duchy in 1786. It was not until the second half of the 18th century that the Duchess Elisa made a public garden here, donating a huge green area to the city, dramatically different to the other city gardens of the time, with a new entrance created at Porta al Prato.
In the 19th century the Cascine Park was extensively redesigned, with large areas of park transformed into dedicated sports areas, including a running track.