Medici Baphomet Grotto

Tucked away at the end of a long narrow path, in a semi-hidden corner of the Boboli Gardens, is a strange little grotto. It contains a group of statues of goats and putti, which are seen to be worshipping a front-facing goat head projecting out from the center of the rockery. It is clearly a shrine to Baphomet. While there is a palpable eeriness to the place, it is not entirely repulsive.

A weathered Medici crest adorns the exterior portico, marking the place as property of the Dukes of Tuscany. A strangely placed basin lies beneath a pregnant or nursing goat, who stands between two small children. Two male goats gaze expectantly at the focus of the scene: a disembodied goat's head issuing forth from the rocaille depths of the grotto.

The interior is well decorated with baroque stone floors, classical alcoves, and with Romanesque grotesques and cherubim on the ceiling. There is a very curious image of what seems to be a cherub-crab-goat in a recess in the very center of the ceiling.

What was the purpose of this building? Is it just a fanciful fountain, or is there more to it?

Medici Crest

Medici Baphomet Grotto

Medici Baphomet Grotto Goat Head