View of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo on a sunny winter day.

Piazzale Michelangelo – Your Guide for 2024 (By a Local Mom)

Whether you’re plotting out your Florence itinerary from your couch at home or you’re already here in the birthplace of the Rinascimento (Renaissance), you’ll want to include a stop at Piazzale Michelangelo.

The famous photos you see of the Florence city skyline – they’re from Piazzale Michelangelo.  The viewpoint your Aunt gushes about from her trip to Florence last summer – it was Piazzale Michelangelo. 

Beautiful, romantic, memorable – that’s Piazzale Michelangelo, and it deserves a visit on every trip to Florence.  It’s a classic place to visit for a gorgeous view of Firenze!

I live here and often stop at the Piazzale when I’m driving by.  I visit solo, with my husband and boys, and with visiting friends and family.   

This guide will help you decide how to visit, when to visit, what to do nearby, and more!  I hope you find it helpful for making the most of your time at Piazzale Michelangelo.

2024 TOUR DE FRANCE: The 2024 edition of the Tour de France begins in Italy – in Piazzale Michelangelo! On June 29, 2024, riders depart Piazzale Michelangelo for Rimini. Keep an eye on the official Tour de France Italia website for details on the start.

Quick Language Lesson:  Che bella vista!  What a beautiful view!

Facts about Piazzale Michelangelo:
Year Built: 1869
Architect: Giuseppe Poggi
Reason for Construction:  The piazzale was designed to honor Michelangelo and to display some of his works of art in a museum behind the piazzale, in La Loggia (now a café and restaurant).

Good To Know:  If you’ve visited Piazzale Michelangelo in the past, you’ll remember it used to be full of parked cars.  The parking area has been significantly reduced, and there’s so much more space for walking around and enjoying the piazzale on foot.

Fun Fact:  A piazza is an open space that’s enclosed by buildings on all sides, while a piazzale can have one or more open sides.

Why Visit Piazzale Michelangelo?

Make your way to Piazzale Michelangelo for one of the best views of Florence!  From up high, you have a nice vista of the Florence skyline, including the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Giotto’s bell tower, and Santa Croce Basilica.

It’s also a nice spot for an aperitivo.

Good To Know: In 1865, Florence became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and Giuseppe Poggi was one of the main architects responsible for the Risanimento of Florence, or the ‘urban renewal.’ This included building new housing, enlarging roads, building a new train station, and bringing ‘medieval’ Florence into the 19th century.

Discover more of the Best Views of Florence

Where is Piazzale Michelangelo?

Piazzale Michelangelo is on the southern side of the Arno River (aka the Oltrarno) in Florence, Italy.  It’s nestled between the Rose Garden and the Iris Garden, on a hill above the San Niccolò neighborhood.

What You’ll Find in Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is more than just a pretty face view. Take a look around and see:

  • The David Statue – A few years after the piazzale was finished, this bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David was placed in the center of the square. Below him are bronze replica of Michelangelo’s statues of Day and Night, Dawn and Dusk (originals are in the Medici Chapels). See the real David statue in the Accademia Gallery.  Find more Outdoor Art in Tuscany.
  • La Loggia – Tear yourself away from the view and turn around to see the large building which was supposed to be a museum to house Michelangelo’s works. Instead, it’s a restaurant (with a nice terrace).
  • Poggi’s Plaque – While you’re looking at the Loggia, take a peek at the plaque at the base of the wall. It has an inscription: Giuseppe Poggi – Architetto Fiorentino – Volgetevi Attorno – Ecco Il Suo Monumento – MCMXI. “Giuseppe Poggi, Florentine Architect. Look around you, here is his monument.”
  • Vendors – There are stands with vendors selling souvenirs, drinks, and snacks.
  • People – This is a popular spot in Florence! It’s much quieter in the winter.

Helpful Tip: Looking for a toilet? There is one under the stairs (on the west side of the piazzale) or walk toward San Miniato al Monte and you’ll see one on the way on your left.

When To Visit Piazzale Michelangelo

The classic time of day to visit Piazzale Michelangelo is in the evening for sunset.  It’s also lovely in the morning (the buildings are lit up at sunrise) and during the day when it’s less crowded.

It’s a gorgeous view and worthy of a stop any day of the year!

How to Get to Piazzale Michelangelo

Walk Up to Piazzale Michelangelo

Stone steps on the path between Florence city center and Piazzale Michelangelo. There are trees and bushes on both sides.
Steps on WALK #1

There are a few ways to walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo (and they’re all on the map above):

  1. WALK #1 – The paths and steps that lead from Piazza Giuseppe Poggi to Poggi’s Ramps, and up to Piazzale Michelangelo.  This is the most direct route.  It’s steep in places, but you can always stop and take in the views on the way up!  Walking with no stops will take between 10 and 15 minutes (about 600 meters), maybe a little more if you just had a lot of gelato. [This is route from Piazza Poggi is the classic walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo.]
  2. WALK #2 – The long and winding road from Piazza Ferrucci to Piazzale Michelangelo.  This is a longer route, but there’s a cobblestone sidewalk and it’s partly shaded.  This is a popular path for locals, and you can also push a stroller on it.  It takes around 30 minutes (just over 2 km).
  3. WALK #3 – The steep road between Piazza Demidoff that passes through Porta San Miniato and up the steps of Scalea del Monte alle Croci.  You also pass by an entrance to the Rose Garden (not always open), so you could walk through the Rose Garden to get to Piazzale Michelangelo.  There is a small sidewalk at the beginning, but then the road narrows until you get to the steps, so watch for traffic.  It takes 10 to 15 minutes (about 600 meters) with no stops.

What We Do:  If we’re walking up from town, I like option #1 (passing Poggi’s Ramps).  This is the classic climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo).  If we want to get a nice stroll in and am not time-crunched, or I have a child in a stroller, we meander our way up via the sidewalk on Viale Michelangiolo (option #2).

Helpful Tip:  Wear decent shoes with traction.  You’ll be walking on stone steps and some pavement. 

Helpful Tip:  Be careful when crossing roads, at the time of writing no crosswalks are marked on the classic route.

Drive to Piazzale Michelangelo

Parking area in Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence, Italy. It's full of cars. You can see tall trees in the background.
Parking lot in Piazzale Michelangelo. To the right is the road, and to the left is a large open space with the David statue, vendors, and people checking out the views of Florence.

If you’re driving up to Piazzale Michelangelo (for example, you’re visiting from the Tuscan countryside, or you just picked up your rental car and are on your way out of the city), you can drive directly to Piazzale Michelangelo.

There are blue pay and display parking spaces on the edge of the piazzale (parallel to the street, Viale Michelangiolo).  If you can’t find a spot, you can try parking on Via delle Porte Sante, below San Miniato al Monte.

Take a Taxi to Piazzale Michelangelo

Depending on where you depart from in the city, expect to pay between €10-20.  You can either call a taxi (+39 055 4242 or +39 055 4390) or get a taxi from a designated taxi stand.  When you want to leave Piazzale Michelangelo, you can get a taxi at the taxi stand on the southwestern corner of the Piazzale. 

Thinking of taking an Uber?  Be sure to read
Uber in Florence – Not the Uber You Know and Love
Uber in Italy – It’s Not What You’re Used To

Take the Bus to Piazzale Michelangelo

If you want to take the city bus (now Autolinee Toscane), I recommend using Google Maps (or your favorite map app) to find the best bus route from your current location.  You want to end up on bus #12 or #13 (you may need to take more than one bus) because they both end up right at Piazzale Michelangelo.

You can also take the red hop-on-hop-off bus (both lines stop at Piazzale Michelangelo).

Ride Your Bike to Piazzale Michelangelo

If you’re riding from the Florence city center, make your way to Piazza Ferrucci and then ride the winding Viale Michelangiolo up to the piazzale. 

From Chianti, we ride through Galluzzo, Due Strade, and Arcetri to get to Viale Galileo, which turns into Viale Michelangiolo. 

Taking Photos at Piazzale Michelangelo

View of Florence skyline from Piazzale Michelangelo on a cloudy day.
Our view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo on a cloudy day

If you’re a photographer, Piazzale Michelangelo is probably on your list of places to visit.  Yes, sunset is magical, but the early morning light hits the front of the buildings, and there are less people. 

For a sunset visit, arrive early to find your spot.  Most gather in the northeast corner, but also look through your lense further back, closer to the David statue. 

Other nice places are at Poggi’s Ramps on the way up and at San Miniato al Monte.

What to See & Do Near Piazzale Michelangelo

Don’t come up here just to see the view of Piazzale Michelangelo.  There are a few other sites worth checking out:

Rose Garden (Giardino delle Rose) – Adjacent to the piazzale on the west, the Rose Garden is a nice place to relax before sunset.  You can sit on the lawn, check out the outdoor sculptures, and check out the roses (in the springtime).

View of Florence and the Rose Garden on a sunny day. There are people walking on the paths and sitting on the lawn.
A spring visit to the Rose Garden is perfect – pleasant temperatures, epic views, not too many people

Iris Garden (Giardino dell’Iris) – Florence’s Iris Garden (on the eastern side of the piazza) has a short season (usually late-April to late-May), but it’s worth wandering the small paths to see the beautiful iris blooms.

View of Florence, Italy's iris garden.
A visit to the Iris Garden is always worth it!

You may want to read more about Our Favorite Gardens in Florence.

Poggi’s Ramps (Sistema delle Rampe di Poggi) – If you do walk #1 from the options above, you’ll pass architect Giuseppe Poggi’s layers of fountains, caves, ramps and steps that were restored in 2018.

View of front of Poggi's Ramps in Florence, Italy. Man sitting on bench and two others looking in pond.
See Poggi’s Ramps on WALK #1

San Miniato al Monte Complex – For another perspective of the Florence skyline, you can walk up the steps to San Miniato al Monte.  While you’re there, wander in the church (worth it for the frescoes and mosaics) and stop in the monks’ pharmacy shop.

Piazzale Michelangelo with Kids

Heading up to Piazzale Michelangelo is one of our favorite things to do with kids in Florence.

It’s a lot of fun for little ones, but make sure you plan out what’s best for your family.

Read all about Visiting Piazzale Michelangelo with Kids.

Aperitivo at Piazzale Michelangelo

One thing I like to do is use an evening stop at Piazzale Michelangelo as a setting for aperitivo.  You have a few options:

BYO (Bring Your Own) – Stop at a grocery store in town before going up to the piazzale and grab some wine, olives, cheese, cured meats, and other nibbles. 

La Loggia di Piazzale Michelangelo – Just behind the piazzale so you’ll still be able to enjoy the view!

Rose Garden – Enter the Rose Garden and stop in at its small café for a spritz.  Heads up – there aren’t many tables or chairs.

Buy from the Carts – There are a couple of stands in Piazzale Michelangelo that sell drinks (like soda and wine) and simple snacks.  There are others (more in the high season) closer to the road, including one permanent bar at the intersection with Viale Poggi that also has some seating.

Bar Below the Piazza – There’s a small bar just below the piazzale on the northwest corner. It has a terrace and outdoor seating with fabulous views. Drinks are pricey, but you’re paying for the vista too.

Rifrullo – If you want a ‘proper’ aperitivo, head down the hill to Rifrullo in the San Niccolò neighborhood.  I’ve enjoyed this place since I was a student here and still do now as an aging mom (haha), so it suits all age ranges. 

Where to Eat After Visiting Piazzale Michelangelo

Hungry after climbing up to Piazzale Michelangelo?  These are my top picks for places to eat in the area – full meals, aperitivo, or gelato:

La Loggia di Piazzale Michelangelo – This is certainly the easiest option – just turn around and walk across the main road.  The outdoor terrace has lovely views and is such a nice setting in the evening during the summer.  A prime spot for aperitivo.

La Beppe Fioraia – Casual, outdoor garden setting.  Get the tagliere with local meats and cheeses and jams and sott’oli (vegetables in oil).  And add a glass of wine, of course.

Saporium Firenze – A restaurant run by Borgo Santo Pietro that practices the organic farm-to-table philosophy.  Fine dining, but not stuffy and the menu is creative and Instagram-worthy!  This is a place to book for a special evening out.  Reservations are a must.  Upscale aperitivo option next door at Saporium Lounge Bar.

Hosteria del Brico – One of my favorite restaurants in Florence.  It’s small, cozy, and perfect for a fun evening with a group of friends or a romantic cena with your partner.  Be sure to reserve!

Gelateri de’ Medici – You’re not that far from (what I think is) the best gelato in Florence.  Head downhill and across Ponte San Niccolò to Gelateria de’ Medici and its classic and creative flavors.  We love this place so much we had its gelato cart at our wedding.  Read more about the where to find the Best Gelato in Florence

Piazzale Michelangelo (Florence) FAQ

View of Florence at sunset from Poggi's ramps. Colorful flowers in foreground and skyline with Duomo and buildings in background.
Who was the architect in charge of Piazzale Michelangelo?

Giuseppe Poggi was the architect that created Piazzale Michelangelo.  The great artist Michelangelo Buonarroti (aka Michelangelo) had nothing to do with the piazza.

Are Piazzale Michelangelo and Piazzale Michelangiolo different places?

You’ll sometimes see the more historic spelling of ‘Michelagiolo’ on signs.  For example, the street leading up to the piazzale from Piazza Ferrucci is called Viale Michelangiolo.

Can I walk from Piazzale Michelangelo to the Boboli Gardens?

You can walk from Piazzale Michelangelo to the Boboli Gardens.  It’s less than two kilometers away, and it will take around 25 minutes.  It’s easiest to enter from the east. 

Which Florence train station is closest to Piazzale Michelangelo?

Firenze Campo di Marte train station is about 2.6 kilometers from Piazzale Michelangelo, while Firenze Santa Maria Novella sits about 2.8 kilometers away.

Can you see the Pitti Palace from Piazzale Michelangelo?

The main view you see from Piazzale Michelangelo is of the Florence skyline in the historic center and the Arno River, including Ponte Vecchio.  Pitti Palace, on the same side of the river as the Piazzale, is hidden by trees and buildings.

How long does it take to get to Piazzale Michelangelo from the historic center?

If you walk without stops, it will take 30-40 minutes to walk from Piazza del Duomo to Piazzale Michelangelo, or 5-10 minutes less if you’re starting from Piazza della Signoria or the Uffizi Gallery.

Candice Criscione Avatar