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Better Know Florence: Piazzale Michelangelo

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In the latest in the Better Know Florence series, we take you on a trip to a place with stunning views over the city


The chances are that if you plan on visiting Florence to take in a match, you will have some free time on your hands to look around the city. Even if time is short, a trip up the hill to see Piazzale Michelangelo. It provides a postcard-style view over the whole of Florence and will leave you speechless. Whatever you have seen in pictures will not prepare you for seeing this magnificent view with your own eyes.

Taking in the view during the day gives you a totally different experience to seeing the panorama at night. The first time I went up was during the day. Being new to the city, I didn't know how to get up to the top on foot, so having done some research online, I found out that I could catch the number 13 bus from the main train station, Santa Maria Novella. It was my Dad's birthday, so I had arranged to take him up there for a surprise. I bought him lunch from the Mercato Centrale on the way and we took the bus up to the top. It was a bright sunny day, and packed with people. There were two gorgeous Ferrari up there that you could pay 5 to sit inside, or a considerable amount more to test drive. The view was astonishing against the blue sky as we looked out on all the city's main landmarks - the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, and even the Stadio Artemio Franchi against its stunning backdrop of the Fiesole hills. Having witnessed the spectacular view during the day, I was determined to go back another time to see the view at night.

One year later I had arranged to go up to Piazzale with someone who has lived in the city since 2004. My friend Melinda Gallo has her own blog which includes many stunning pictures of Florence. I was surprised to find out that we didn't need to take the bus to the top after all. We met at the Ponte Vecchio and crossed over the river at the Ponte alle Grazie. Had it been daytime, we could have walked through the Giardino delle rose, but we opted for the safer route of the (incredibly steep) steps up to the top. The walk, although steep, was far shorter than I had imagined. This time there were no supercars and far fewer tourists but the view was phenomenal nonetheless. The magic of Florence had captivated me once again, and I could have stood looking at the view for hours.

Having seen the view during the day and at night, I am by no means finished with Piazzale Michelangelo. Next on my wish list is to see a sunrise or a sunset from the enchanting viewing spot.