By bus we drive once across the city to the most beautiful viewpoint over Florence, Piazzale Michelango.
Near our accommodation we get on the bus with the number 12. This drives a circuit across the city and also on the other side of the river Arno to the Basilica San Miniato al Monte and the Piazzale Michelango. The bus ticket costs, if you buy it in advance at the machine or Tabaco 1.50€ – on the bus you pay 2.50€!
The bus goes along a panoramic road of about 8 kilometers on the hill of San Miniato. We spontaneously decided to get off at the Galiei 5 stop and thus enjoy the view of Florence during a short walk towards the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte.
A little later we are standing at the path that should take us to the highest point of the city. From up here you have a fantastic view over the city in several places.
Basilika San Miniato al Monte
The church belongs to the Olivetan Abbey in Florence and, according to legend, stands on the spot where St. Minias (a martyr who was beheaded around 250 and ran up the hill with his head under his arm) died.
Architecturally, the church belongs to the Romanesque architecture and is said to be one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. So a good reason for a visit.
Going up the steps to the church, the facade of white Carrara marble and dark green serpentine stands out.
But I’m really amazed when we step into the church. It is not particularly bright, but the unusual construction inside can be seen very well. The choir is on a raised platform above the crypt. The crypt is said to contain the bones of St. Minias, although this is not proven.
I like it very much in the church, maybe it comes from the dim lighting, but I find it almost cozy and feel comfortable. In other churches, the splendor has often almost slain me and some churches seem rather cool and do not exactly invite you to stay there longer. That is clearly different here.
When you leave the church, you can buy alcoholic drinks, honey and herbal teas produced by the monks in a small store.
Right next to the church there is also a cemetery, which for a time served as a final resting place for wealthy citizens and famous personalities. Here, for example, you can find the tomb of Carlo Collodi, the creator of Pinocchio.
We go down the steps in front of the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, crossing the street to reach Piazzale Michelango, the viewpoint over Florence.
Piazzale Michelango – the most beautiful viewpoint over Florence
Piazzale Michelangelo was created in 1865, when Florence was briefly the capital of Italy and some construction projects were intended to make the city “fit for the capital”. In the square there are bronze copies of Michelangelo.
But honestly, hardly any visitors really pay attention to the works of art during their visit. Much more interesting is the beautiful view over Florence. You look at the Arno and can discover, for example, the Ponte Vecchio, the cathedral, the Palazzo Vecchio. Really dreamlike beautiful!
Fontane delle Rampe del Poggi
After enjoying the viewpoint over Florence for a while, we walked down the hill, aiming to see Porta San Niccolò and the Fontane delle Rampe del Poggi.
The Fontane delle Rampe del Poggi is a beautiful installation, which I would already no longer call a fountain, but rather a “water wall”. Here, on several floors, the water flows down between overgrown arcades. With the appropriate incidence of light, it shimmers beautifully.
Until a few years ago, the entire facility was completely overgrown and you could not see any water flowing. Only after extensive renovation measures and the removal of many plants, the fountain by Giuseppe Poggi shone in its former glory.
Below the Fontane delle Rampe del Poggi is the Porta San Niccolò. The tower is a remnant of the city fortifications.