Piazzale Michelangelo - Amazing views of Florence

A visit to Michelangelo square (better known in Italian as Piazzale Michelangelo) while in Florence is a must if you're looking for the best view of Florence and Tuscany beyond!

florence views from piazzale michelangeloThe perspective of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo is unique!

Not only that, it's a great way to get a small break from the crowds in the city center below.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this beautiful terrace in Florence Italy!

Visit Piazzale Michelangelo with amazing views of Florence - Everything you need to know!

view of florence from Piazzale Michelangelo in summerPiazzale Michelangelo should definitely be on your Florence itinerary!

So what is Piazzale Michelangelo and why should you see it when you visit Florence?

Why is this whole terrace named for one of Italy's most famous artists?

And what is there to see and do up there?

On this page, you'll find:

A short history of Piazzale Michelangelo

Built in 1869 at a time when Florence was the capital of Italy, the square offers unrivalled views of the whole city from its location in the Oltrarno district.

Designed by renowned architect Giuseppe Poggi, the piazza was part of a major renovation of Florence, including adding riverside walkways along the Arno River.

Arno view with puffy cloudsThe beautiful Arno river

The square forms a panoramic terrace, with its most prominent feature being a replica of the statue of David by the legendary artist to whom the piazza is dedicated.

The neo-classical loggia was originally designed as a museum of works by Michelangelo, but the museum never happened.

It now houses a restaurant which is nothing great, and fairly touristy, but which offers spectacular views of the Duomo and beyond!

Walking to Piazzale Michelangelo from Florence's historic center

Can you walk there?

The answer is yes!

To walk from the historic center of Florence takes 20-30 minutes, depending on where you leave from, and of course, depending on your walking pace.

Either way, your goal is to get to the other side of the River Arno, to the neighborhood called Oltrarno (bonus if you are starting from there!)

Because there is more than one route to the top, it can be nice to walk one of them on the way there, and the other on the way back down.

How many steps are there in Piazzale Michelangelo?

The number of steps you'll need to take will also depend on your pace and if you're by yourself or part of a group.

Part of the climb includes short staircases but in many places, you'll stroll by the side of the road, up a direct path, and then up another staircase again.

How hard is the walk?

I would say the walk is not that difficult, especially if you pace yourself and take it slowly.

It might seem far, but from the bottom of the hill to the top takes around 10-15 minutes on foot.

Watch our video on how to walk from the center of Florence to Piazzale Michelangelo for more details:

Public transportation to Piazzale Michelangelo

Take a bus

There are lots of buses which go up and down the hill so it's easy to jump on one of them and avoid the steep climb.

The best way to find the route you want to take from where you are is to use either Google Maps or the Moovit app.

bus on the street of florenceFlorence's public transportation system is easy to understand, with many routes going up to Piazzale Michelangelo

Enter Piazza Michelangelo as your destination, choose the public transportation icon, and you'll see your options from where you stand.

Most bus options will take around 30 minutes from various points in central Florence.

Don't forget to buy your bus tickets in advance so you have some ready to go when you need them.

Prefer something a bit more active when sightseeing?

Why not join this evening e-bike tour of Florence, starting in the center and ending at Piazzale Michelangelo to see the city lit up in front of you!

Take a taxi

Taking a taxi is an easy and quick way to get to Piazzale Michelangelo.

taxis in florence on the streetTaking one of Florence's many taxis is an easy way to get up to the top of the hill, especially when the temperatures are soaring

Depending on where you are starting from, the trip should take about 10-15 minutes and costs about 10 euros from the historic center.

One option is to take a taxi there and then walk back down to enjoy the view of Arno river, Ponte Vecchio and the rest of the city.

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Take a golf cart tour

This innovative way to get to Piazzale Michelangelo offers an easy, safe, quick and affordable option, and has a low impact on the environment.

The panoramic view from Piazzale Michelangelo

piazzale michelangelo view of florence in summerStunning summer views from Piazzale Michelangelo

This is the main reason people love to visit this terrace, it offers one of the best panoramic views of Florence anywhere.

Florentines and tourists alike love to come up here to enjoy the sunset so you will not find it uncrowded at that hour!

The sights at Piazzale Michelangelo Florence

The bronze sculpture of David

Michelangelo's David is without a doubt one of the most famous sculptures in the world, and a bronze cast stands in the center of the terrace.

The David statue was unveiled in 1504, and he stood initially in Piazza della Signoria.

piazzale michelangelo davidThis bronze replica of Michelanglo's David stands proudly in Piazzale Michelangelo

Today the original is inside the Accademia Gallery

There is also a marble replica where the original once stood in Piazza della Signoria in front of Palazzo Vecchio, matching the bronze cast replica here.

This version of Michaelangelo's David looks out over a fabulous view of Florence.

Fountain with flowers

Designed by Giuseppe Poggi, the architect responsible for the Piazzale Michelangelo design, the Fountain with Flowers is a beautiful fountain set within the Rampe del Poggi, the set of steps leading up to the terrace.

Rampe del Poggi view from belowThe different levels of the Rampe del Poggi lead you up the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo

The Poggi Ramps have recently undergone extensive restoration after being largely untouched for many decades.

They are now a delightful way of reaching the terrace.

No matter when you visit Florence, here are four things never to leave at home:

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Other things to see and do nearby

Basilica di San Miniato al Monte

The spectacular Basilica di San Miniato al Monte is close to the Piazzale Michelangelo.

This fine example of Romanesque architecture, considered one of the best of all, sits on the highest point of the hill with a stunning view of the city and Tuscany beyond.

The church's construction began in 1013, and by 1373 it was run by the Olivetans, whose monastery adjoins the church.

They still run it to this day.

front view of the basilica san miniato al monteThe steps leading up to the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte

Keep heading up from the main part of the Michelangelo piazzale and you can't miss the entrance to the church.

The church is open Sundays 8:15am-1:00pm and then again from 3pm-7pm, and on weekdays from 9:30am-1:00pm and then 3pm-7pm.

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Cimitero delle Porte Sante

The Cimitero delle Porte Sante is a fascinating monumental cemetery within the fortifications of the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte.

san miniato cemeteryWhile it may seem odd to visit a cemetery on your vacation, the moving and beautiful tributes here are well worth taking the time to see!

Featuring several interesting neo-Gothic architectural features, the cemetery is the resting place of many notable figures.

This includes the Italian artist Pietro Annigoni, best known for his classic portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

The cemetery is open for visitors at the same time as the basilica and makes for an interesting free detour.

Giardino delle Rose

Located just below the Piazzale Michelangelo Florence is the beautiful Giardino delle Rose, the Rose Garden.

florence rose gardenFlorence's Rose Garden is absolutely beautiful when the flowers are in full bloom!

It is a wonderful place to visit and offers stunning city views.

The terraced rose garden is the work of Giuseppe Poggi and was developed as part of the renovation of Florence in the 1860's.

The Rose Garden is open on weekdays and Saturday 9am-8pm and from 10am-8pm on Sundays, and is completely free to enter!

Giardino delle Iris

The Iris is the symbol of Florence and has been for many centuries, and few places in the world cultivates as many different examples as Florence's delightful Iris Garden.

Be aware that the garden is only open to visitors for a few weeks in May each year when the irises are blooming.

The Iris Garden features at least 1500 varieties of these spectacular flowers.

Torre di San Niccolò

The Tower of San Niccolo is a famous Florentine landmark that was once part of the defensive walls that protected the city center.

During the city's renovation in the 1860's, most of the defensive walls were destroyed, as architect Giuseppe Poggi instructed.

Gates of San Niccolo vertical view from a distanceThe Tower of San Niccolo stands out from the landscape around it

This Tower was left in place, and today visitors can climb the 160 steps to the top to take in quite amazing views of the entire city of Florence.

The tower stands alone in Piazza Giuseppe Poggi, a square dedicated to the famous Florentine architect.

It's open during the summer months for guided tours only.

Take a look at these pages to find out how to make the most of your time in Florence:

Is Piazzale Michelangelo worth visiting?

Piazza Michelangelo is a wonderful place to visit, if only for the views.

This is an ideal spot for:

  • Couples looking for a romantic spot
  • Families with kids
  • Anyone looking for some exercise in the fresh air
  • Lovers of Michelangelo
  • Those looking for some of the less well-known places to visit in Florence, such as the Basilica di San Miniato and its cemetery, and the various gardens nearby.

florence rose gardenThe Rose Garden on the slopes of the hill is just one of the attractions on offer at Piazzale Michelangelo

Is Piazzale Michelangelo free?

It is completely free to visit Piazzale Michelangelo, no tickets are needed and it is open 24 hours a day.

You therefore have no excuse not to come here at some point during your trip and soak up the atmosphere!

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