The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #106


A reader writes:

A VFYW contest from India that's a bit easier than last week's, perhaps? My guess is the glass house of the Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens in Bangalore.


Well, once again this week's VFYW is California, my home state (although I now live in Victoria, British Columbia).  The view is of the Golden Gate Park Arboretum, and if I were on my yearly visit I'd go down to the park and find the exact vantage point.  No such luck, so let's say the photo was taken from the second floor balcony of the De Young Museum, or third, or something like that …


My confidence in my VFYW answers is undermined by how often I'm way off, so I'll just say I THINK I know where that is because I did study abroad in Madrid, Spain for six months and it looks very familiar.  Specifically it's the Palacio de Cristal, located in the Parque del Retiro.  It's a gorgeous glass structure in the heart of the Parque del Retiro that makes Central Park look like a garbage dump.


I don't have the time to do an extensive search to determine longitude, latitude, forward facing direction and such, but I'm pretty sure this is the Butterfly House at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. Somebody else will get the window book, but I'll just be happy if I'm correct.


The Gardens of Vatican City? I know this is a long shot, and considering the source I doubt The Dish would be highlighting the Vatican, but it reminds me of a photo I took out the window of the Hall of Maps on my honeymoon. It is a beautiful scene there and something the Vatican should show off more often.

Another gets on the right track:

This looks like Italy, with the cypress trees, pines, tile roofs, and the villa in the distance. However, I have no idea what city.

Another does:

Short and sweet: Giardino dell'Orticultura, Via Vittorio Emanuele II, Florence, Italy. The photo is probably taken from a room on the top floor of the Hotel Relais Amadeus, Via 20 Settembre. Never been there; looks beautiful; should put it on my bucket list.

Another sends an aerial shot:



Every week, I only give myself five minutes to figure these out. If I get it in five minutes, fine. If not, I move on. I seldom succeed. But this one I found just like that. Searched images for "Stanford University greenhouse." Nope. Searched images for "tuscany greenhouse." Bingo.

A close-up shot from a reader:


Another writes:

It was built by someone by the name of Giacomo Roster in 1879. The glass house (or Tepidario) opened in 1880. The main entrance of the park is located at Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 4. A smaller side entrance next to Via Bolognese, 17, is closer to the glass house and helped me find the window that is my guess this week. It took me a day and a half to find the location searching every "glass house," "greenhouse," "orangery," etc. that could viably be surrounded by cypress trees and terracotta roofs. (I was unaware of the term "tepidario" or "tepidarium" when I began the search.) Thus, after an exhaustive study of glass houses in the U.K., the apparent epicenter of Victorian glass houses, and confirmation that I wouldn't find terracotta roofs of this style there, I limited my search to Italy, Spain, France, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Southern California and Florida.

Thanks to you, I now know more about Victorian (and later) glass houses than I'd ever have expected to know.


This is my first time writing in for the VFYW contest, but after seeing the photo, I recognized the place immediately, having lived in Florence for a little more than two years. The tepidarium of the Giardino dell'Orticultura is instantly recognizable, and the typical Tuscan buildings in the background help to confirm that. From the perspective, I'm guessing the picture was taken from somewhere near Via Bolognese, 5. I'm sure one of your other readers will come up with the precise address.

There are actually a surprisingly large number of art nouveau (called Stile Liberty in Italy) buildings in that city. One of my blog posts from that time shows some of the highlights. I'm sure most tourists rush by these beautiful buildings on their way between the Renaissance attractions, which is a shame.


Bolognese 1

When I studied abroad in Florence during my junior year at Vanderbilt, my back patio looked onto this garden.  The physical location is off of Via Bolognese in northern Florence, which leads up to the Etruscan-turned-Roman town of Fiesole.  While I lived in the apartment, the garden was mainly used by locals (often elderly) who relaxed for hours on the benches.  For what it's worth, I remember a fair number of young children, as well, but a surprising lack of parents.  The greenhouse also hosted a few noisy parties during my stay, but otherwise laid fairly dormant. The building was more of an enigma to me, as it was quite a remarkable building in a pleasant setting.

In any case, my guess as to the physical location that the photo was taken was from the southernmost window/door of the north-side apartment on the third floor of #5 Via Bolognese. The height seems consistent with the trees and the top-right shadow seems consistent with the overhang. More photos of the building can be found here.

So close to the exact address. Another:

Pciture with actual window

So, here's what we're looking at. You can see the house with the two-tone paint job in the foreground in this pic courtesy of Google maps. I think we're looking down from the window/door in the middle of the picture – the one that is perched atop the house, with the teal door that is directly to the left of the trees trunk (it abuts it). You can tell by the slight bit of roof in the right hand side of the pic. This house is one the Via Bolonese, too, and is probably #8, although I'm not certain.

Even closer. Another zooms in further:

This picture was taken from one of the buildings on the Via Bolognese that overlooks the Horticultural Garden (Giardino dell'Orticultura) in Florence. The greenhouse is called the Tepidarium del Roster and is the largest greenhouse in Italy. My best guess as to the specific window – or balcony door – is shown in the attached Word file with a blue arrow:


You should get dozens, if not hundreds, of correct answers.

Forty-one to be exact. About a dozen guessed the correct address – 7 Via Bolognese – but only a few nailed the correct floor as well. One of them is the following reader, who broke the tie by having correctly answered previous views without yet winning:

You are either taking pity and going easy on us lately or I am just lucky.  This is the second time in a month I "knew" where the picture was taken at first glance (Depoe Bay was the other).  Everything in the picture, especially the villa in the distance, screamed Florence.  My wife and I were married there and the architecture of the villa evokes some wonderful memories:


Figuring the exact address was more problematic. Estimating the angles by looking at the position of the trees and the smaller buildings in the foreground, I came to #7 Via Bolognese.  The photo was taken from a window on the third floor in the rear of the building. The third picture is of that beautiful villa on Via Trento from Google street view.  My wife and I have decided we could be very happy there.

And we hope you will both be happy with the window book. Details from the submitter:

Taken today from the rear of our third floor apartment at 7 Via Bolognese, Florence, Italy overlooking the Giardino dell'Orticultura. It is the beginning of the old road to Bologna. Our friend's family has owned this apartment for a very long time.  He is in his 70s now and grew up there. He remembers the nearby Ponto Rosso (bridge), which is less than 100 yards away from the apartment, being blown up in WWII.