Have you ever wondered where the best photos of the city of Florence are taken from? Piazzale Michelangelo is the most famous viewpoint in Florence (in fact, if they gave it the name of the famous italian Renaissance artist there will be a reason).
I decided to spend a weekend in Tuscany. After arriving at the Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence, I rushed directly to Piazzale Michelangelo with the hope of getting in there before sunset.
The square is easily accessible by public transport or taxi from the city center. You can walk along the tree-lined avenue called Michelangelo, or walk up the monumental stairs called Rampe del Poggi from Piazza Poggi in the San Niccolò district.
The name of the square was chosen by the architect Giuseppe Poggi who designed the project in 1869 to celebrate Michelangelo and his works. He also designed the Loggia which dominates the entire terrace and which was supposed to house a museum of the works of the great Tuscan artist, unfortunately never realized.
As soon as I arrived I find myself in front of a large parking lot full of taxis, buses, stalls that display the classic souvenirs and of course there are also many tourists of all nationalities who had the same idea as me. I approached the walls that surround the square: how wonderful! Just look out and the view is beautiful. On my right the Arno, the Basilica of Santa Croce and then the bridges in sequence with Ponte Vecchio which stands out for its unique architecture. I moved towards the center of the square to admire Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo of Florence, Brunelleschi’s great Dome and Giotto’s Bell Tower which seem very close. The rays of the late afternoon sun bring out the colors of the white, red and green marble that cover these monuments.
Travel Photography Tips: when you find yourself in front of a beautiful landscape you are tempted to want to capture all the magnificence of what we are seeing on just one photo, but even with an ultra-wide-angle lens this would be very difficult to achieve. When you are shooting a landscape don’t try to capture too much instead use a telephoto lens to shot just one part of the panorama.
After have taking some pictures of Florence I decided to visit the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte which is right above Piazzale Michelangelo. From the courtyard in front of the entrance of the Basilica you can see the Florentine countryside and part of the historic center of Florence. It is a perfect spot for taking some pictures before the red color in the sky fades, replaced by evening lights (also it’s a perfect location for wedding photos).
Sunset Photography Tips: for getting even warmer sunrises and sunsets, go to your camera’s Shooting menu and choose Cloudy as your white balance (also some smartphones allow to change the white balance settings of the camera). If you really are a photography geek, press the right arrow button to get the white balance cloudy submenu, and move the dot in the middle of the grid to the right three spots (to A3), and then clock OK. When you have finished to shooting sunrises or sunsets don’t forget to turn this settings off. Okay, this wouldn’t be a tragedy for all your subsequent photos but your shots will be a little warmer.
I read that the construction of the Basilica began in 1018 and was founded by the Benedictine monks who still live there today. Its facade it is a beautiful example of Florentine Romanesque architecture. The white marble and the green serpentine marble of Prato arranged in a geometric shape recall the other churches of Florence. To see absolutely inside on the floor a marble zodiac dating back to 1207 on which for a few moments June 21, summer solstice, a ray of sunshine illuminates the sign of Cancer.
It’s dinner time and I’ve been walking for hours, therefore I decided to return to the historic center. The streets of Florence are full of taverns, wine bars and typical restaurants. Among the many proposals of the tuscany tradition I chose a trio of first courses with pappardelle with ragù, ravioli with mushrooms and gnocchi accompanied with a good glass of Chianti classico and to end in sweetness with the delicious cantucci with Vin Santo. I recommend a walk after dinner among the less crowded routes of Florence to have the opportunity to admire with more tranquility the illuminated monuments in the florentine night. Everything has a different charm and deserves to be savored.