Piazzale Michelangelo Offers Magnificent and Sweeping Views of Florence:
For a magnificent panoramic view of Florence, most tourists head to Piazzale Michelangelo, a square that’s dedicated to the great Renaissance sculptor. Piazzale Michelangelo is on a hill in the Oltrarno district, south of the Arno.
Piazzale Michelangelo is a popular tourist destination and if you’re visiting Florence on a tour, you will inevitably be brought here for a Kodak moment. It’s a popular spot for wedding photography and the few times that we’ve stopped here we’ve also seen cyclists and bikie groups gathering here for a break.
The view from this observation point is famous and you’ll see this view in postcards and other images of Florence.
Risanamento of Florence
Piazzale Michelangelo was built in 1869 by architect, Giuseppe Poggi, at the time of the Risanamento (rebirth of the city), when Florence was the capital of Italy. Piazzale Michelangelo was only a small part of the large scale re-planning and urban development being carried out. Poggi was in fact the architect responsible for the whole city transformation plan.
On the right bank of the Arno, parts of the 14th century city walls were removed to make way for the six-lane, tree-lined French-boulevard style Viali di Circonvallazione. On the left bank, the Viale dei Colli was built. The 8-km long tree-lined street winds up the hill of San Miniato and ends at Piazzale Michelangelo with its terrace offering panoramic views of the city. Poggi designed a loggia that was supposed to house a museum with works by Michelangelo, but this was never realized.
Sweeping Views of Florence
You can literally see the length and breath of Florence from this view point, starting from the Ponte Vecchio and other bridges that cross the Arno River on the left, the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Piazza della Signoria and the huge dome of the Duomo and further along on the right.
There’s a restaurant at the Piazzale Michelangelo terrace where you can enjoy a drink and take in the magnificent views.
In the middle of the square is a bronze statue of David, a rather weak one I think. This monument was brought up here by nine pairs of oxen in June 1873. This is not my favourite David statue in Florence or anywhere else as the proportions of David’s body are a poor comparison to the one in the Galleria dell’Accademia and the face is not a pleasing one to look at.
The Piazzale Michelangelo can be reached by car along the tree-lined Viale Michelangelo. You can also get up here by walking the stairs or going up the ramps from the Piazza Giuseppe Poggi, also known as the “Poggi Ramps” in the district of San Niccolò.