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Italy on High: Rooftop Florence

View of Florence after sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence, ItalyFlorence is a city best explored on foot, meandering through the narrow streets, which bend and curve, linking the city’s signature squares together into a tightly-woven masterpiece of quattrocento architecture.  To truly appreciate the city, however, you need to get high up above it.  Only then can you fully take in the magnitude of Brunelleschi’s Duomo, the soaring height of Giotto’s Campanile, the graceful curve of the Arno, and the stately span of the Ponte Vecchio.
The most obvious — and probably most cost-effective way to get to the top of Florence is to scale the cupola of Santa Maria del Fiore, the city’s main cathedral.  The top of the Duomo affords fantastic views of the city, but the drawback is that you miss seeing Florence’s main attraction…because you are standing on it!  To truly appreciate the complete architectural ensemble of Florence, the Duomo has to be visible.  Happily, there are plenty of alternatives for taking in vistas of the city of the Medici and Michelangelo; getting an entirely different perspective on the stunning cityscape, the famous landmarks, and to revel in the elusive chiaroscuro of the Tuscan hills surrounding Florence.

One of the most magical times of the day for rooftop rubbernecking is the “golden hour” of late afternoon/early evening.  This is when Florence is bathed in the amber tones so beloved of her native painters Fra Angelico, Giotto, and Sandro Botticelli. 

One of my favorite ways to appreciate a Florentine sunset is atop one of the elegant rooftop bars of the city’s hotels with 360° views of the city.  This is the perfect place to sample one of Italy’s signature aperitifs and enjoy a relaxing coda to a day spent on one’s feet exploring the city’s many treasures.

The best overall view of Florence is from the Piazzale Michelangelo.  From Poggi’s sumptuous nineteenth century terrace, you can see the entire city spread out below.  This is a photographer’s dream come true: the perfect place to watch the sun go down and capture the city’s unique profile.  No visit to Florence is complete without paying homage to Dante’s beloved birthplace from the Piazzale Michelangelo.

Alexander+Roberts offers a number of ways to visit Rome and other cities in Italy, including our Italy by Rail program.

Posted: 6/26/2015 10:38:32 AM by Alexander + Roberts