Anyone with a desire to comprehend the Renaissance, has to make Florence, Italy a part of their Italy trip itinerary. No other place in Europe packs in so much Renaissance art, sculpture, and history as Florence, not to mention its being the epicenter of the movement that spawned Europe’s rebirth in culture.
If you want to see Michelangelo’s David, The Birth of Venus, Brunelleschi’s dome, and the city where banking began, you have no choice but to visit Florence.
I spent a few days walking around Florence, visiting the art galleries and churches. I crossed over the river Arno to the bohemian-type neighborhoods I prefer. There I ate and sat in the dimly lit squares at night eating and drinking wine.
One evening, just after finishing the Duomo museum, it occurred to me that it was my last night in Florence. A good friend of mine had suggested a view over Florence that was not-to-miss. Located on the other side of the river, atop a hill, I rushed over as quickly as possible to Piazzale Michelangelo, or Michelangelo square.
Piazzale Michelangelo is a located on the hilltop with an amazing view of Florence sprawled out in front. The view from this observation point has been reproduced on countless postcards and in snapshots over the years. Young people sit on steps, tourists are gathered; all are enjoying the magnificent city of the Renaissance in the glow of the setting sun. There is a path and stairs leading to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo, but you can also catch a bus.
You can see the shop-covered Ponte Vecchio spanning the Arno, along with the other bridges. You can see the huge dome of the Cathedral, the largest in the world at the time, and most impressive since antiquity. You can see the spire of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s history-soaked town hall.
The square can get crowded at times, but does not take away from the beauty of the city view.
Text and photos by Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno visited Italy on three-month trip around Europe in the fall of 2012. He blogs at BohemianTraveler.com