Get your daily cardio in, and an unbelievable view will be your reward.
Florence is an awe-inspiring Renaissance city and its beauty is apparent absolutely everywhere you look. Narrow cobblestone streets, elaborate cathedrals, and scenic bridges over the stunning Arno River all add to the picturesque magnificence that is Florence. Although this city looks amazing from every angle, there are a few spots that boast such incredible views that you will gain an even greater appreciation for this Tuscan gem. Make sure to fit these three mind-blowing vantage points into your schedule while visiting Florence. Each recommendation involves a bit of a climb, but you’ll get your daily cardio in, and an unbelievable view will be your reward. You’ll never see the city the same way after hitting these spots.
1. The Steps at the Piazzale Michelangelo
This is hands-down my favorite view in Florence. Take a nice walk up to this hilltop square if you’re in the mood for some light exercise (and are wearing comfortable shoes!), or grab a taxi for a quick but scenic drive up from the city center. Every single time I would reach the Piazzale Michelangelo and looked out over its breathtaking panoramic view of the entirety of Florence, I would fall in love with the city all over again. You will be amazed buy the amount of detail you can see, from the intricate architecture to the dense greenery of the rolling Tuscan hills. Be sure to arrive just before sunset so that you can witness the transition from sun-drenched landscape, to cotton-candy sunset, to the glistening lights that illuminate the city after sunset. The vibes here are great as well: there’s usually musicians playing various instruments and singing, groups of friends clustered together chatting and laughing, and vendors and cafes selling wine, snacks, and coffee. I highly recommend bringing or buying a bottle of wine and sipping it as you watch the sunset.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most-visited art galleries in Florence, which is no surprise because it is extremely gorgeous and expansive. Housing works by artists including Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, and boasting fantastic artistic touches on the ceilings, you could spend hours wandering through the Uffizi. However, I was particularly blown away by the unique view of the Arno River from the large windows. You feel as if you are suspended over the river, and the Ponte Vecchio is right beneath you. Seeing the Arno from this perspective will make you appreciate the vastness of this river, and experiencing it from this peaceful gallery makes it all the more pleasant.
Located right next to the iconic Duomo, the Campanile often gets overlooked, but I believe it is the better option for visitors looking for a spectacular view from the heart of the city center. It isn’t quite as tall as the Duomo, but those few feet won’t make any difference when you’re about 278 feet above Florence. You don’t have to buy a scheduled ticket (as you do for the Duomo), so you can climb the Campanile whenever the desire strikes you—even a long line moves pretty quickly. While I do not recommend climbing either the Campanile or the Duomo to anyone with claustrophobia or an extreme fear of heights, the Campanile is the less intense of the two options. The stairways are narrow and crowded, but there are many breaks on the way to the top where you can stop to catch your breath and check out the sights. Once you finally reach the top, you will be greeted with an impressive 360° view of the city. You will be stunned by the intricacy of the city and its quintessentially Tuscan neutral colors. You can, of course, see the Duomo itself, an architectural feat that never loses its wonder. This unmatched view of Florence is an essential part of any visitor’s itinerary.
Photos: Jordyn Asakowicz
Where’s your hidden gem must-see in Florence? Share with us in the comments.