By Meredith Pollock, MA 2015-16
One of the most stunning views in Florence is Piazzale Michelangelo. It is a trek to get there, but once you arrive it quickly proves itself to be worth the effort. It should be on every tourist’s Florence bucket list, and if you’re studying here visit a few times because each time is different and more beautiful than the last.
Piazzale Michelangelo was built in 1869 as a part of the redevelopment of the Oltrarno, the area of Florence south of the river. Designed by Giuseppe Poggi, the square is dedicated to Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the greatest artists ever and the pride of Florence. A bronze copy of his David stands in the center of the square. Until recently the main part of the square was a parking lot, but recently the city eliminated the parking lot and replaced it with a giant grass fleur-de-lis, the symbol of Florence, with a red heart made of flowers in the center.
To access Piazzale Michelangelo, walk east along the south side of the Arno until you see a sign pointing you in the right direction. Follow the signage through the neighborhood of San Niccolò until you get to Piazza Giuseppe Poggi, where the stairs to the square begin. The stairs are shaded and not too strenuous, but a more scenic alternative is the Giardino delle rose. The entrance is to the left close to the beginning of the staircase climb up, and rather than trudging up over 100 stairs you’ll wind your way through a lovely rose garden with plenty of places to take in the panoramic view. When you exit the garden at the top you will see the stairs to Piazzale Michelangelo across from you. Just a few minutes later you’ll be enjoying the most beautiful view in Florence!
Photos by Meredith Pollock