One of the views I was excited to see was the terracotta roof tops from afar as well as how massive the Duomo is in comparison to everything else. The few hot spots for this kind of view that I came across through research is:
- Climbing up the Duomo
- Boboli Gardens
- Piazzale Michelangelo
Climbing 463+ steps up the Duomo is a popular to-do in Florence so as you expect there would be queues. It isn’t a free experience either costing €15 for the workout (no option to go up in a lift!), one which I wasn’t motivated to do it this time but is on my list for the next trip. Besides, I was hoping to get the Duomo IN my landscape shots. No doubt it’ll be worth the effort though!
Looking through photos, the gardens seem to be a beautiful place to wander through especially when you can see pretty decent views of the city. I punched in ‘Boboli Gardens’ on Google maps app and followed it closely… it ended up taking me through a ‘private / staff only entrance’ to the Gardens, as you imagine I got shooed away (no entry signs were in Italian!). Thanks Google for the semi embarrassing moment. To be specific, the Boboli Gardens is actually part of the Pitti Palace grounds, and you’ll need to pay for entry. There were 2 different types of ticket which costed €10, each allowed you into different parts of the Palace. I went for the one that included entry to the gardens, along with it was entry to some of the galleries which I didn’t care too much for.
Entrance to Boboli Gardens inside the Pitti Palace
You would enter through from the building above, and your jaw will probably drop at the sight of the hill which you might have to climb. The garden is HUGE – its probably almost the size of Central Park in New York but the difference is these gardens are more hilly. Definitely put my dear legs through a work out here even then, I don’t think I reached every corner! The garden could be quite a maze too so I would advise picking up a map on arrival or take a photo of the information board.
You’ll come across some great views of the city but the above is the best, unobstructed view which is from the middle of the garden up the very top. If you love gardens, then this is definitely one to check out, but if you are after the best views of Florence, this is not the place to go. The highly recommended spot is Piazzale Michelangelo… even better that is Free! I wish I had read up on this recommendation earlier!
Boboli Gardens was more of a ‘green garden’ than a colourful one, not sure if its because I didn’t see the colourful parts or the season.
Going to Piazzale Michelangelo was the furthest out of town I went. You could take a 15min bus ride there or take a 30minute walk. From where I was (outside a gelateria!) it was only a 20min walk according to Google so I decided to maintain my “walk everywhere in Florence” goal. Google took me through narrow streets parallel to the Arno river and eventually came to a small town. Sign posts started appearing pointing at the direction of the Piazzale. There was a good 10min of steep slope climbing which is nothing considering the end prize!
Go through these gates and continue forward/upwards
I didn’t give much attention to the statue near the car park because the views won my attention the moment I saw it! Its becoming a popular spot among tourists… especially because its free! Luckily the barriers weren’t crowded with them when I was there around 6PM in June. Its a wide open space, so you can get over 180degree view of Florence from up there! My advice for you if you’re planning to go up there – bring a bottle of wine and/or some nibbles, sit on the steps and enjoy the view. If you make it there for sunset, thats a bonus!
The walk back down was much easier, there is actually a garden just at the bottom of the Piazzale which you can walk through and possibly find yourself near the closest town.