Where to Go for the Best Views of Florence

Seeing Florence from above is an essential part of a visit to the Tuscan capital
Seeing Florence from above is an essential part of a visit to the Tuscan capital | © Image Professionals GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Francesca Masotti
28 September 2020

Tuscany is famed for its rolling hills, beautiful countryside and distinct architecture in the regional capital. One of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Europe, Florence has to be seen to be believed. The hilly landscape means there are plenty of places to get a great panoramic view of the Renaissance cityscape. Here are some of the best options.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence, Tuscany
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Easily reachable on the Oltr’Arno, across the river from the city centre, Piazzale Michelangelo, home to one of the famous sculptors three versions of David, offers stunning panoramic views of Florence. There are also restaurants, cafés and bars here so you can enjoy a drink and a meal while you breathe it all in, often to the soundtrack of local musicians playing in the square. It’s difficult to think of anywhere better suited to the quintessential Florentine experience.

Church of San Miniato al Monte

Church, Building
Map View
View from steps of San Miniato al Monte church, Florence, Tuscany, Italy, Europe
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You could spend days trying to tick off all the churches in Florence, but perhaps the best to visit to get a great view of the city is the lesser known Church of San Miniato al Monte. It sits on the same hill as Piazzale Michelangelo, so the views are as impressive, and you can also explore the interior, parts of which date back more than 800 years. The most prominent features are the Chapel of the Crucifix, designed by Michelozzo in 1448, and the stunning central mosaic dating back to 1297.

Bardini Garden

Park
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Sun lit passage in Bardini Gardens, Florence, Italy. The Bardini Garden contains many meandering pathways on its hillside location
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Florence has several large gardens, and many of them have become renowned tourist destinations for their landscaping, flora and historical significance. Giardino Bardini isn’t the most well known, but its relatively central location, a few minutes’ walk from the Arno, and the views it offers at the top make it well worth a stopover. The flowers on display only add to the appeal, especially the amazing Wisteria tunnel.

Rose Garden

Botanical Garden
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View over Florence from the Rose Garden below Piazza Michelangelo, Florence, Tuscany, Italy, Europe
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Just below the Piazzale Michelangelo, this small, attractive garden has stood proudly overlooking Florence since 1865. At only around 1ha (2.5 acres), it’s a tiny space, yet offers an exceptionally good view of the rest of the city and is immaculately kept, with hundreds of different species of roses, lemon trees and even a Japanese garden which was donated by Florence’s twin city, Kyoto.

Duomo of Florence

Cathedral, Church
Map View
Cityscape of Florence, with the Cathedral (Duomo) on the skyline, Florence, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tuscany, Italy, Europe
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The Duomo of Florence is a globally recognisable landmark (especially if you’re a fan of the Assassin’s Creed video game series), and it would be criminal to come here without getting a first-hand look at the ingenious architecture of Filippo Brunelleschi, or the frescoes inside. For a truly immersive experience, climb the 400 steps to get to the top of the dome and look over the rooftops of Tuscany’s largest city.

Additional reporting by Callum Davies

These recommendations were updated on September 28, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.