Situated on the hilly patches of Tuscany and bisected by the polluted-but-pretty Arno River, there is no denying that Florence is heart-achingly scenic and romantic. One of the greatest (and cheapest) Florentine experience is to view the city from a good vantage point and revel in its dramatic setting and serene skyline. Tourists can do this from a number of places: the Campanile, the Duomo's dome and Piazzale Michelangelo. Arguably, the last location affords tourist the grandest view in that it includes the iconic Duomo and the striking spire that is Torre d'Arnolfo.
As usual, the best time to enjoy these views would be at sunset when the Florentine sky undergoes a lovely transformation with lots of purple and pinkish shades during autumn. And as the dusk gives way to night, the city's lights all come aglow highlighting the dramatic reflections of the city's historical buildings on the Arno River.
To get there, take bus no. 13 from Stazione di Sta Maria Novella. It's quite a long 30-minute ride along the city's clogged streets, and you'd know you've reached there when the bus disgorges tens of camera-toting tourists. If you stay a bit late to say about 7 pm, the bus does seem to take long to arrive - but the trip should be all worth it.
Locals make tehmselves available to show visitors their favourite views, bars, restaurants, shops and secret spots.
As alternative to mass tourism, this is a different way to explore the city as a inside perspective.
Check it out: www.rentalocalfriend.com
Fondest memory: The most unforgettable moment I had in Florence was when I had my first pizza.
No metter where you go, no metter how simple the bar is you will always have an incredible pizza experience.
Piazzale Michelangelo is a very large square laid out in 1865. It is situated on a hill on the south bank of the Arno river.
From there you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Florence. You can spot the main sights of the town and also some remnants of the ancient walls.
You can go to Piazzale Michelangelo by bus (take n. 13 outside the main train station) or by foot.
Favorite thing: The Piazzale Michelangelo is a place on a hill above Florence. The square has a bronze statue of David, many tourist stalls and a great view. In the picture the main building you see is the Santa Croce church. From this site it looks like a dull church building but look at our must see tips or the Santa Croce travelogue to see how beautifull it really is.
Favorite thing: Piazzale Michelangelo is the place where you can see beautiful views of the city. I had a lot of fun looking towards the city and trying to identify the places I have visited. The square has a copy of Michelangelo's David.
I took few pictures from Piazzalle Michelangelo - I think you can get the best view of Florence right there.
On this picture you can see the river Arno, Palazzo Vecchio on the left and Duomo, Campanile & Baptistry on the right.
Probably the best way to see Florence is to hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo. From there you can really see one of the most beautiful European cities at once.
As well there's the famous statue of Michelangelo's David.
You can climb the 414 steps to the top of the Cupolla. From there, you can enjoy wonderful views of the city.-
Se pueden subir los 414 escalones hacia el tope de la cúpula. Desde allí, se pueden admirar maravillosas vistas de la ciudad
One of my fondest memories of Florence was of our walk along the river in the evening. It was truly magical.
I took this picture on our way back to the center of town after watching the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo. That night couldn't have been any more romantic. If Maria and I weren't already married, I would have proposed to her right then and there!!
For more information on Piazzale Michelangelo, see my "Must See" section.
The gardens are worth a look.
Open daily in June/July from 9 am to 7:30 pm, September/October and April/May from 9 am to 6:30 pm, November to February from 9 am to 4:30 pm and March 9 am to 5:30 pm. It's also closed the first and last Monday of the month.
Going to the top of the Duomo is definetely a great experience. For those who have the energy to walk some 400 steps (takes 15 minutes to get all the way to the top), I would greatly recommend it. The view from there gives you a beautiful scenery of the city.
Visiting the Uffizi Gallery (for those who love Renaissance Art)and the Boboli Gardens (for those who love nature), both are must see places. The Arno River is right in front of the Uffizi Gallery, where the view of the Ponte Vecchio can be seen.
Piazza della Signoria (which is right next to the Uffizi Gallery) contains the Palazzo Vecchio, which is also a very interesting place to go. It's like the 1500's and the 1600's coming alive right before your eyes.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Florence would have to be walking through the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria at night. The temperature is great, (no higher than 65 F) in the summer, and everyone is out. Lots of restaurants are located throughout the enchanted city.
Proceed to PIAZZALE MICHELANGELO where at the terrace you'll get a panoramic view of Florence.
Fondest memory: I love the picturesque view of many European cities from mountain tops. Florence, Edinburgh, Salzburg & Lugano all has $million views! Exquisite!
Enjoying the view from the top of the Duomo. It is ofcourse nice to have clear skies and see all the way to the mountains.
If you don´t feel able to climb the 463 steps of the Duomo you can also have a great view of the city from the piazalle Michelangelo.
When in Florence you can´t miss the Dome. It is dominating the skyline since centuries.
It stands tall adjacent to the Baptistery and the Companile. No other building is higher than the Duomo which was first designed in 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio who died in 1302 leaving the design to other architects who finished designing Arnolfo's dream but could not figure out how to build such a long dome (142 feet from the ground). Fillippo Brunelleschi came to the rescue and managed to construct the Dome.
The exterior is covered in marble walls which are a mixture of white ( Carrara), green (Prato), and red( Maremma). The interior is bare and cold. The Duome can hold 10 000 people in one preaching. On the west wall, there are three stained glass windows designed by Ghiberti and a huge clock which was decorated with four heads of prophets by Paolo Uccelo in 1443. On the left aisle are a pair of memorials of mercenary commanders (condottieri).
The biggest work of the Duomo is the fresco of the 'Last Judgement' by Vasari. These are painted on the entire roof .
Fondest memory: Climbing the 463 steps to the top of the Dome, is a very tiring, but rewarding task. Being close to the big, big painting of the last judgement overwelms one. And after getting higher the views over Florence are great! While climbing you can see how exactly the dome was constructed.
Climbing the dome costed €6 in febr. 2003, but is worth every cent.
The Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore, 1463), the enormous florentine cathedral. It is the fourth biggest church in Europe, and its dome dominates the landscape on any postcard of the city.
In front the Duomo lies the Batisterio, from the 4th Century, which makes it one of the oldest buildings in Florence. That's where many Florentine were baptised, including Dante.