These photos were taken during a three-day trip with my daughter to Florence in 2015. We had just visited Venice, where we had spent lot of time visiting art exhibits and churches, so in Florence we mainly just walked or cycled around and took in the city’s views.
1. View from the Piazzale Michelangelo
The Piazzale Michelangelo, an easily accessible public park just south of the Arno River, is a good place to to get a panoramic view of city and see where many of the Florence’s main landmarks are located.
In the following photo, taken facing northwest, you can see the Ponte Vecchio (the bridge at far left), the Arno (the river), the Anolfo Tower of the Palazzo Vecchio (in the middle of the frame) and the dome and tower of Florence Cathedral (at right). The dome has the nickname Il Duomo.
The following photo shows the view looking north; you can see Florence Cathedral (at left) and the Basilica of Santa Croce (at right).
Facing east, you can see how quickly the city fades into the sparsely populated hillsides.
Here is a view facing West by Northwest, with the sun beginning to set just out of frame. If you are staying nearby Piazzale Michelangelo, it is worth coming back to see how the city looks under different kinds of light.
2. The Arno, the Ponte Vecchio and City Parks
The Arno is the river running through Florence from east to west. The central area of Florence is chock-a-block with multi-storey buildings and narrow streets, so the river introduces some breathing space into the heart of the city.
The Ponte Vecchio, one of the main bridges crossing the Arno in Florence, is full of shops. Originally, the shopkeepers were butchers, tanners and farmers, but now the shops cater mainly to the tourist trade and sell jewelry, art and souvenirs. This rebuilt version of the bridge dates back to 1345.
The bridge looks quite pretty in the above photo, but if you wait until just before sunset on a sunny day, it glows with rich, warm hues. As we were staying in a hotel near Florence’s main tourist sites, we would often pass by the same sites at different times of the days and with different lighting conditions.
At sunset, people gather on the bridges crossing the Arno to enjoy the views.
On the west side of Florence, there are bicycle paths that run along the river banks and through a connected series of city parks (Parco Giochi Del Visarno, Parco Giochi Delle Pavoniere, Prato Della Tinaia and Il Prato Delle Cornacchie) north of the river. We rented bikes in the city center and had a relaxing cycling trip there.
3. The View from Florence Cathedral
The views from the dome of Florence Cathedral are stunning. It takes a while to get to the top. You have to buy tickets and queue up, and once you are inside it takes about half an hour to ascend the very narrow winding stairs. The 360 degree views of the city worth it, though.
In the following photo, we are looking back at the Piazzale Michelangelo (on the hillside in the background). The Palazzo Vecchio is at the far right, while the Basilica di Santa Croce is in the middle of the frame.
4. Florence Cathedral
The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, more commonly known as Florence Cathedral, was completed in 1436. It is difficult to photograph in its entirety because it is a massive structure surrounded by buildings.
The marble exterior is rather ornate.
As with the Ponte Vecchio, when the sun it setting, Florence Cathedral takes on a vibrant, warm glow.
The next two photos show what the dome looks like from the inside. The inside of the dome is covered with detailed frescoes.
Piazza Della Signoria
The Piazza Dell Signoria is situated between Florence Cathedral (a few blocks to the north) and the Ponte Vecchio (a few blocks to the south). It is a large public square where you can find sculptures like the Fountain of Neptune (shown below) and a replica of Michelangelo’s David. The original sculpture of David used to be there, but it was moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia in 1873).
At night, the statues in the square are lit up. Here is a view of Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa. It is located with several other sculptures in the Loggia dei Lanzi on the south side of the square.
At night, buskers (all of whom were very talented) performed in the square.
A block to the west of Piazza Della Signoria, at Mercato Nuovo, is the famous Fontana dei Porcellino. The fountain figure, known locally as Il Porcellino (i.e., The Piglet), is Pietro Taccais’s 17th-century bronze sculpture of a wild boar. It has been tradition for a least a couple of centuries to put a coin into the boar’s mouth (letting it fall into a grate below) for good luck and to rub its snout to ensure a return to the city. The constant rubbing is what gives the snout its polished sheen.
A block to the southeast of Piazza Della Signoria is Via Dei Neri, which has quite a few well-known sandwich restaurants like La Fettunta and All’ Antico Vinaio.
At the southeast corner of Piazza Della Signoria is the Palazzo Vecchio, which is Florence’s town hall. Construction on this fortress-like building started in 1299.
Complete Photo Album
To see all the photos (104 images) you can see the full album: Florence, taly: Flickr or Google Photos