Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence Italy

Guest Post By: Karen Mills

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence ItalyAt least once per week and sometimes more in the summer, I head up to the panoramic view at Piazzale Michelangelo. The overlook was built by Giuseppe Poggi and was part of the cities urban renewal. At the time, Florence was the capital of Italy. (1869) This overlook can be reached by a few streets in Florence for a nice, uphill walk, or by bus number 12 or 13 from a variety of points throughout the city. You can buy tickets at the Tabbacci stores and they cost 1.20 euro and are good for 90 minutes.

The overlook is beautiful at any time of the day or any time of the year, but the sunsets in the summerFlorence City Wall from Piazzale Michelangelo that take place around 9 p.m. are breathtaking. The sky turns a variety of shades of yellow, orange, pink, and purple and with the Tuscan Hills as a background and the beautiful renaissance buildings of the Florence skyline, it makes for a romantic evening. You can see the Tuscan country side to the left with a view of Tuscan villas and olive trees and the rambling city wall that makes its way to Porta Romana. Inside the wall, you can see the Ponte Vecchio, Ponte Santa Trinita, and Carraia, along with the tower of Palazzo Vecchio, The Duomo and bell tower, San Lorenzo and the Chapel of the Medici, and Santa Croce.

Piazzale Michelangelo is a large open space with parking for cars, vendors who sell souvenirs, watercolors and food, and there is a monument to Michelangelo. (1871) The monument contains a bronze replica of the David, and the base of the statue is decorated with copies of the statutes that Michelangelo did to decorate the tomb of the Medici. (The originals are located in San Lorenzo).

There are a few restaurants at the Piazzale, offering a variety of foods. The restaurants include sit down dining with pastas and pizza, as well as a bar with sandwiches and gelato. There is an upscale restaurant located in the loggia which was built by Poggi and was intended to be a museum that would house Michelangelo’s work. That idea never came to fruition.

San Miniato al Monte, Florence ItalyIf you go in the summer, take a picnic and a bottle of wine. Go early because it gets crowded here for the sunset! Sometimes in the evening there is live music at the base of the stair facing the west where you can sit and enjoy the sunset.

Located above this site is the church and adjoining monastery of San Miniato al Monte. This church is one of the finest examples of Florentine Romanesque architecture in the city with its striking white and green marble. The view here is magnificent. At 4:30 in the afternoon, the monks of the Olivetans community perform Gregorian chants. There are works of art by Michelozzo, Gaddi, and Luca della Robbia.

Don’t miss the gift shop to the left of the church. There are handmade soaps, oil, liqueurs and honey made by the monks in the monastery.

View from Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence ItalyFor more information on Florence sites, visit www.anamericaninitaly.com

Karen Mills is an American woman who made the decision to leave her corporate life behind to live “la dolce vita” in Florence, Italy, Read more about her experiences at An American In Italy or contact her at queenkaren0@hotmail.com.

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Guest Post By: Karen Mills

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