The panoramic view of Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo
Located on a bluff overlooking the Arno, the Pizzale Michelangelo offers some of the best views of Florence. The Piazzale itself consists of two levels. The photo to the right shows the main plaza, a bustle of tour buses and souvenir stands during the day. This picture, shot in the early morning, shows the Loggia or open air building to the left, which houses a restaurant offering beautiful views of Florence. To the right in the picture is a statute of Michelangelo's David. Just past David are a set of stairs leading to a lower level, shown in the photo to the left. Much quieter than the plaza above, the observation area contains a small flower garden and an observation area that offers an entire panorama of Florence, stretching from San Miniato al Monte and Forte di Belvedere to Santo Croce and beyond to the east. The Piazzale Michelangelo can be accessed by two routes. The scenic route is to exit from the city gate at the end of Via de Serragli in Oltrarno, and follow the Viale Niccolo Machiavelli, which essentially parallels the defensive walls of the city. This leads up a fairly steep incline past the fashionable villas and guest houses before passing San Miniato al Monte. There is a shorter route which winds directly up from Piazza Giuseppe Pogo, ascending directly from the southern bank of the Arno.