View of Ponte Vecchio from upper floor of Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

The 16 Best Views of Florence – A Local Mom’s Picks

If you ask anyone where to go for the best view in Florence, 99% of people will tell you to head up to Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset.  And, they’re not exactly wrong – it is a gorgeous view of Firenze.  But, there are so many more places to catch a bella vista (beautiful view) of the city.

I’m a local mom and I love heading into the city with my family, with friends, and with visitors.  These spots with the best views of Florence are places we actually go to, so you can trust the info is accurate.  We love these Florence viewpoints and think you will too!

I’ve listed more than just panoramic views of Florence.  While there are plenty of those, I’ve also included some of my favorite views of Florentine life and views of Florence from less traditional angles.  Check them out below!

Why did I include so many views?  I want you to be able to look at the map while you’re in Florence and find something close to you.  Or, to discover a new-to-you view of Florence.

My Favorites:  Can’t decide where to go?  My ‘go-tos’ are Angel Rooftop Bar, Piazzale Michelangelo, Giotto’s Bell Tower, and walking the streets in the early morning.   

Good To Know:  These are all walkable from Florence (so, no Fiesole on my list).  No bus or taxi rides are needed, although you can certainly use them if your legs are tired (or you have little ones with you). 

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Map of Best Views of Florence, Italy

The 16 Best Views of Florence

Giotto’s Bell TowerDuomoFrom abovePaidYes
Angel Rooftop BarPiazza della SignoriaFrom aboveFree (with purchase)Yes
Rose GardenPiazzale MichelangeloFrom a distanceFreeNo
BellosguardoOltrarnoFrom a distanceFreeNo
On the ArnoArno RiverFrom the riverPaidYes
DuomoDuomoFrom abovePaidYes
San Miniato al MontePiazzale MichelangeloFrom a distanceFreeNo
Boboli GardensOltrarnoFrom a distancePaidNo
RiviorePiazza della SignoriaStreet levelFree (with purchase)No
Rinascente Rooftop RestaurantPiazza della RepubblicaFrom aboveFree (with purchase)Yes
Ponte Santa TrinitàArno RiverFrom the riverFreeNo
Florence StreetsHistoric CenterStreet levelFreeNo
Orti del ParnasoNorth of Historic CenterFrom a distanceFreeNo
Hotel LungarnoSanto SpiritoFrom the riverPaidYes
Oblate Library CaféDuomoFrom aboveFree (with purchase)No
Piazzale MichelangeloPiazzale MichelangeloFrom a distanceFree  No

Helpful Tip:  If a reservation is needed, book it ASAP.  Some of these places have low capacity and will be booked solid during busy seasons (most of the year in Florence). 

Good To Know:  There are alternatives listed in the descriptions below, and they’re also on the map above.

Standing at the Top of Giotto’s Bell Tower

View of the Duomo, city, and surrounding Tuscan countryside from the top of Giotto's bell tower in Florence, Italy.
View from the top of Giotto’s bell tower on a December morning

View Of: Florence city center from above, including a close up look at the Duomo’s dome; Tuscan countryside

The climb up Giotto’s bell tower (next to the Duomo) is our family’s favorite climb in the city, and the views you get up top are worth walking up all the stairs!

Read more about Climbing Giotto’s Bell Tower!

Alternatives: Arnolfo Tower (Torre di Arnolfo) of Palazzo Vecchio, Porta San Niccolò tower (I haven’t climbed it yet)

Sipping a Spritz at Angel Rooftop Bar

View Of: Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio, and Florence city streets

There are so many rooftop bars in Florence to choose from, but we love this one because the staff is friendly and it’s a relaxed atmosphere.  I never feel rushed, and it’s fun with kids too.  You have your choice of a few places to sit for different viewpoints. 

The bar has its own takes on classic cocktails, like the Duomo Spritz and you can also visit for brunch. 

Alternatives:  SESTO on Arno at the Westin Excelsior, B-Roof at Grand Hotel Baglioni

Sitting on the Hill at the Rose Garden

Skyline of Florence framed by metal sculpture in the Rose Garden (Giardino delle Rose). Sunny day with puffy white clouds.

View Of: Florence skyline

The Giardino delle Rose is a perfect place to go if you want to sit down, chat with friends, or check out the roses when they’re in bloom. 

My kids love checking out the art on display and I’m happy to take a break from walking the Florentine streets.

Good To Know:  It gets toasty here in the summer, so visit in the morning or evening.  You can even grab aperitivo at the small café with outdoor tables.

Alternatives: Bardini Garden (Giardino Bardini) especially in the spring when the wisteria is blooming, Iris Garden (Giardino dell’Iris) when it’s open in the early spring

Read more about Our Favorite Gardens in Florence.

From the Stone Walls of Bellosguardo

View Of: Parts of the Florence skyline, countryside north of Florence

This is a special viewpoint for me because my husband brought me here while we were dating, and we still stop by in the car sometimes. 

It feels a bit like you’re ‘peeking’ at Florence, and there are multiple spots along this road to catch views of the city above rock walls and plants. 

Helpful Tips:  It’s an uphill climb to get here, stay aware of cars because the road is narrow, and know that it’s not well-lit at night (if you head up for sunset or to see the city lights).

Cruising Down the Arno

Boat on Arno River in Florence, Italy. You can see buildings and trees on hillside in background.

View Of: Ponte Vecchio, the Arno, Florence buildings on the Arno

For a different perspective, hop into a boat!  Arno Boat offers 50-minute rides for €25 (kids are €15).  There is some info given, but go for the views.  Perfect for sunset!

I haven’t done this yet, but I’ve been on a boat on the Arno for a wedding and loved seeing the city from the river. 

Alternative:  If you’re in Florence in the summer, you’ll see a ‘beach’ set up along the Arno River near Piazza Poggi.  There are also a few cafés that sprout up along the banks of the river in the summer.

Gazing From Atop the Duomo

View of Giotto's bell tower and Florence rooftops from the Duomo climb in Florence, Italy.

View Of: Florence city center from above, Tuscan countryside, the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) ceiling

If you have the energy to climb up to the top of the Duomo, it’s worth it!  Not only are you rewarded with spectacular views of Florence, you also get an up close look at the painted ceiling of the dome.

Good To Know:  The climb has some very narrow sections on stairs, and there are a couple of spots at the end where you have to climb up

Alternative:  Book a visit to the terraces of the Duomo for a different perspective.  You must organize a guided visit through the official Duomo website.

From the Terrace of San Miniato al Monte Abbey

View of Florence from San Miniato al Monte.

View Of: Florence city center from above; countryside north of the city

Get a view of Florence from way up top!  The terrace in front of the church gives you amazing views of Florence and the countryside, from a slightly higher spot than nearby Piazzale Michelangelo.  It’s definitely not a secret anymore, so expect to see crowds, especially at sunset, but they don’t take away from the beauty of the place and its views. 

Helpful Tip:  Don’t just come here for the views of Florence.  Take some time to check out the inside of the church (frescoes! mosaics!), the cemetery, and the small shop. 

Walking Past the Artichoke Fountain at Boboli Gardens

View of Florence Duomo and bell tower peeking between building and wall in the Boboli Gardens.

View Of: Parts of Florence, including the Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio Arnolfo Tower

If you find yourself in the Boboli Gardens, when you’re at the Fontana del Carciofo (Artichoke Fountain) and walking toward the Grotta del Buontalenti, life your head up toward the city.  I appreciate this peek at Florence that’s easy to miss.

Alternative: See more nice views of Florence from the Boboli Gardens from the Kaffeehaus or the lawn in front of the Pegasus Statue.

Relaxing at Rivoire on Piazza della Signoria

View Of: Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio and the Torre di Arnolfo, Loggia dei Lanzi

Watch Florentine life pass you by while you sip on thick hot chocolate or a cocktail.  Sit outside and enjoy the views of all of the monuments in this majestic square, including a replica of Michelangelo’s David.

Good To Know:  Want to see the real David by Michelangelo?  It’s just a 10-minute walk away at the Accademia Gallery.

Alternatives: Caffè Gilli on Piazza della Repubblica.  Or, climb the Arnolfo Tower.

Having Lunch at La Rinascente’s Rooftop Restaurant

View Of: Piazza della Repubblica, Florence and its rooftops

Check out one of Florence’s two main department stores (the other is Coin), then head upstairs to ToscaNino for a quick meal of a panino or linger over a plate of pici al ragù di cinghiale (Southern Tuscan ‘thick’ spaghetti with a wild boar sauce). 

The views of the Duomo and the bell tower aren’t too shabby – enjoy them with friends or a small group. 

Standing on Ponte Santa Trinità

Ponte Vecchio and buildings along Arno River in Florence, all lit up at night and reflecting on the glassy water of the Arno.

View Of: The Arno, Ponte Vecchio

Everyone heads to Ponte Vecchio in the evening, but it’s nice to see Ponte Vecchio from one of the bridges on either side.  There’s plenty of space on Ponte Santa Trinità, especially at night when the Ponte Vecchio is lit up.  See the statues and have a gelato at Gelateria Santa Trinità.

Alternatives: Ponte alle Grazie – nice for sunset view of Ponte Vecchio; the back windows of the Uffizi Gallery for views of Ponte Vecchio and the Arno (main photo at the top of this post, but know that the windows of the Uffizi aren’t always clean)

You may want to check out where to get the Best Gelato in Florence.

Walking Florence’s Streets in the Early Morning

View Of:  Florence starting its day

Head out early (think 7:00am or earlier) for a walk around empty Florence streets.  Start in the Piazza del Duomo and just wander.  I used to do this as a student, and I recommend it to anyone staying in Florence.  Not only are there no crowds, but you’ll see the ‘real’ Florence getting ready for the day:  market vendors setting up displays of fresh fruits and vegetables (like at the Sant’Ambrogio market), businessmen and women on their way to the office, schoolchildren heading to school, and people making deliveries and setting up cafes and shops for the day.

Alternative:  Walk along the sidewalks on the banks of the Arno in the evening to see the lights reflecting on the river.  It’s one of our Favorite Things to Do in Florence at Night.

Standing Next to the Giant Dragon Sculpture in the Orti del Parnaso

View Of:  Florence skyline from the north

Much less visited than most of the viewpoints on this list, you’re more likely to see Florence locals than tourists in this park on the northern part of town.  It takes about a half hour to walk there from the Duomo, but it’s a nice spot to have a snack, read a book, and relax while enjoying the Florentine views. 

Good To Know:  If you’ve come this far, walk a little more to the Stibbert Museum.  It’s a unique museum full of armor and interesting objects.

Read more about
Visiting the Stibbert Museum
Outdoor Art in Tuscany

With Your Feet Up on Your Balcony at Hotel Lungarno

View Of:  Arno River and buildings on the north side of the river, Ponte Vecchio

The Hotel Lungarno is a Ferragamo family owned luxury property on the Arno River.  It’s got a prime view of the Ponte Vecchio and kicking your feet up while relaxing on your balcony is a fabulous way to view Florence, if you ask me!

Alternative:  If you’re not quite ready to fork over the €€€s to stay at Hotel Lungarno, you can have an elegant dinner at its restaurant, Borgo San Jacopo (one Michelin star) or stop in for aperitivo at its cocktail bar.  Both have views of the Arno and Florence.

You may also want to see my picks for Where to Stay in Florence.

Sipping a Cocktail or Fresh Juice at the Oblate Library’s Café

Close up view of the dome of the Duomo in Florence, Italy. You can also see some rooftops and building upper floors.

View Of:  The top of the Duomo

The Caffetteria delle Oblate (aka Oblate Cafè) on the top floor of the Oblate Library (Bibiloteca dell’Oblate) has a close-up view of the dome of the cathedral and some of the rooftops of Florence.

This is also a nice spot if you’ve got kids with you because you can make a stop on the ground floor at the children’s library (books in Italian and other languages).  There are also toilets.

Helpful Tip:  The best views are at the first couple of tables closest to the edge of the building, so visit in the late morning or early afternoon for the best chances of snagging a great table. 

And Of Course, With Everyone at Piazzale Michelangelo

View of Florence skyline from terrace of Piazzale Michelangelo.

View Of:  All of Florence from above

I won’t knock it because I love the view of Florence from here.  We stop at Piazzale Michelangelo all the time when we drive past or when we have friends of family visiting.  It’s also a must stop (say hello to the replica David statue!) if you’re visiting the adjacent Rose Garden or Iris Garden.

The view of the city is magical, especially in the evening for sunset or after dark when the lights of Florence are twinkling. 

Good To Know:  There are multiple ways to get to Piazzale Michelangelo.  Walk (stairs and uphill) from San Niccolo neighborhood, take a bus or taxi, or if you’re coming from outside the city, drive and park in the blue pay spots on the piazza by the road. 

Alternative:  Walk a little further and up some more steps to San Miniato al Monte and its terrace for a similar view (see above).

I hope you find a favorite from our list of the best views of Florence! 

Best Views of Florence FAQ

Where is the absolute best view of the Florence city skyline?

I think the best views of Florence from above are at Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte and Piazzale Michelangelo. 

What can you see from Piazzale Michelangelo?

You can see all of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo, including major landmarks like the Duomo, Giotto’s bell tower, Palazzo Vecchio, the Basilica of Santa Croce, and the Ponte Vecchio.

Can I take a hot air balloon ride over Florence?

There are hot air balloon rides close to Florence but they are very weather-dependent and only take 2 people. Otherwise, you can get great views of the Tuscan countryside and Florence from a hot air balloon that takes off and lands in Chianti. But, you’ll need to drive to the countryside meeting point.

Florence skyline on a sunny day. You can see trees and bushes in foreground.
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