How To Find The Best Sunset Spot In Florence

Have you ever wondered where travelers go to get those amazing, panoramic views of Florence? Where they take the postcard-like photos with the Duomo, the Campanile and the tower of Palazzo Vecchio standing out majestically against the beautiful backdrop of the city with the Arno river cutting through it? It just so happens that this place is the best spot in all of Florence to watch the sunset.

View of Florence at sunset

RELATED POST: 10 THINGS YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO IN FLORENCE

Florence City View

 

If you are in Florence at the end of the afternoon I recommend taking the 30 minute walk from the heart of town up to Piazzale Michelangelo. Plan to arrive half an hour before sunset so that you have time to look around, take in the views, and get some great photos.

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Late afternoon, Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Alternatively, spend the late afternoon in Piazzale Michelangelo and then wander back down the hill and onto one of the bridges and catch the setting sun as it meets the Arno. It is such a beautiful sight – you will remember it forever!

Florence Sunset

Sunset on the Arno River

RELATED POST: WHERE TO BUY LEATHER IN FLORENCE

What Is Piazzale Micheangelo?

This is a square dedicated to the famous sculptor and painter. It has bronze copies of his work including the David. But perhaps more importantly it has the most beautiful, sweeping views of the city.

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Where Is Piazzale Michelangelo?

Michelangelo’s Square is across the river from the Duomo in the Oltrano district, perched up on the hill.

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

How To get To Piazzale Michelangelo

There are several ways to get up to Piazzale Michelangelo. My favorite is to walk. If you cross over to the south side of the Arno at any of the bridges you can walk parallel to the river (there are signs from Ponte Vecchio) heading upstream towards the Torre San Niccolo’, an old tower that was once part of the medieval city walls. It is easily spotted jutting up above the rooftops.

Once you reach the tower you are actually directly under the piazza. You will see the staircases working their way up the hill into the park. Be prepared for some significant thigh burning as you head up there, but on the bright side you are earning dessert! (Or burning off a hearty Florentine lunch…) Once you get to the top you will cross the street, take a small staircase and you will be in the piazza!

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Another walking option is from the Porta San Miniato. Go through the gateway and take a short but steep street to the beautiful old stone steps that will take you past the entrance to the rose garden and into the piazza.

Whichever walking route you take, make sure you keep looking behind you as the panorama of Florence comes into view! Take the other route back down when you are done, so that you can experience both.

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If the walk seems like too much (there are a ton of stairs) another option is to take the bus. From the train station you can take the number 12 or 13 bus, which you will find by the taxi stand. You will need to buy your bus ticket at the tabaccheria first.

The Hop On Hop Off bus goes to Piazzale Michelangelo too.

Not in the mood for walking or taking a bus? It is a quick taxi ride up to the piazza.

My new book, Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy is now available worldwide on Amazon.com! You can have a look or get your copy HERE

7 More Things To Do In Florence

I just love Florence.
Florence is one of those cities that I just cannot ever get enough of. Every time I go there I always discover something new. In the past 6 months alone I have been to Florence three times, and each time leaving has felt a little bit like dying. I can’t wait to go back.

Florence
final morning in Florence. I never want to leave….

I’ve written before about 30 Things To Do In Florence, Mornings in Florence, 10 Things You Absolutely MUST Do In Florence, and now I’m fresh off the plane back home from Florence again so while it’s fresh in my mind here are 7 more things for you to do in Florence

1. Go To Santa Croce

The best church art in all of Florence is inside the Basilica Santa Croce.

santa-croce

The frescoes in this church are just staggering.

santa-croce

Dating back to the 1300’s, they are still true in color, are absolutely breathtaking, and as an art lover they never fail to bring tears to my eyes.

santa-croce

The Cimabue crucifix dates back to the 1280’s, and although severely damaged in the flood of 1966 is still achingly beautiful.

Santa-Croce

While the rest of Florence will be bursting at the seems with tourists, hardly any make their way to Basilica Santa Croce, which suits me just fine! Art is far more enjoyable when you’re not trying to view it 5 people deep.

2. Buy Leather Jackets At Jimmy’s

I’ve written about buying leather at Jimmy’s before, (in fact that blog post still gets hundreds of hits per week) and I constantly get messages from readers who make their way to Jimmy’s Leather Collection in Piazza San Lorenzo and buy his fantastic leather jackets. It’s quite the fabulous and fun experience, and Jimmy’s designs are to die for.

Read about where to buy leather in Florence here

3. Walk Up To Piazzale Michelangelo Before Sunset

 

 

dusk-piazzale-michelangelo
dusk from Piazzale Michelangelo

I hadn’t done this in years, but on the second 2016 Glam Italia Tour we took an early evening stroll across the Arno at Ponte alla Carraia and worked our way up the river in the lovely, residential and much less touristy Oltrarno, to Piazza Poggi where we wound our way up the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo as dusk was falling.
The view of Florence from up high is just gorgeous, and after a day exploring the city you not only get to breathe some fresher, quieter air, but you get a wonderful perspective of the terrain you’ve covered that day.

 

Piazzale-Michelangelo-Florence

And of course there’s the green guy on the hill, watching over the city!

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4. Take In Sunset From Ponte Alle Grazie

 

 

sunset-ponte-vecchio
Ponte Vecchio at sunset, from my iPhone

From Piazzale Michelangelo it’s maybe a 10 minute walk down to Ponte alle Grazie bridge, which is the perfect place to take in the sunset, looking down the Arno toward Ponte Vecchio.

5. Grab An Aperatif

After taking in the sunset from the Ponte Alle Grazie keep walking across the bridge and continue up Via De Benci a block or two to the intersection with Via dei Neri and Dei Tintori where you will find several options to sit at a sidewalk table and enjoy an aperatif. It used to be that spritz aperol was a drink you’d associate with Venice, but now it is everywhere. After sunset on the bridge try drinking a sunset colored spritz.

6. Eat The Best Sandwich Of Your Life.

Seriously. The best sandwich ever.

florence-fast-food

I discovered this one when I rented an apartment around the corner and every night I would see the locals spilling out of Al Antico Vinaio all night long.

florence-night
the street of sandwiches, Florence

Everyone was milling about in the street with these giant sandwiches, or sitting on the curb with the sandwich in one hand and a huge glass of red wine in the other. When I travel one of my rules is eat where the locals eat, avoid where the tourists eat, and absolutely never eat at any restaurant that has photos on the menu.

 

florence-night
the three of us had sandwiches from al Antico Vinaio on our last night in Florence

Although you can order a la carte, just pick from the favorites list and have it the way it was meant to be eaten. You will get a giant sandwich on fresh focaccia, with local creamed pecorino cheese, about a pound of freshly cut salami or porchetta, a slice of eggplant marinated in chili flakes and olive oil and maybe some arugula. What you won’t see is processed food, condiments like mayonnaise and mustard, no added salt and pepper. Its all real food that just explodes with flavor and doesn’t need any additives. And it only costs $5.
If you don’t believe me read their reviews – people dream about these sandwiches.
Al Antico Vinaio is on via Dei Neri 2 minutes walk from the Palazzo Vecchio.

7. End Your Evening With A View

 

florence-red-wine
end your night with a view

Florence has so many spectacular views, whether they be of the city skyline, the piazze, the monuments, the buildings – so many amazing things to lay your eyes on! So take time at the end of the night to sit somewhere fabulous with a glass of wine and take in a view to remember forever.

Where to stay in Florence:
I’m not much of a hotel girl when I’m in Italy, I prefer renting an apartment instead. A friend of mine has just put her gorgeous apartment in San Lorenzo up for vacation rental on AirBnB.
You can check it out here


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