Florence – The Walking City… explore Piazza Michelangelo by foot

3C529AF7-46FB-4CF9-A311-DF3A3983D9DBI’ve been to Florence many times, especially when my Florentine grandmother was alive.  When I would visit Florence, I was not a tourist. I was staying with my grandmother. I did do some touring, but mainly I lived the life of a Florentine. Go early to the market to buy your groceries, come home set the table for lunch, always put down a table cloth, grate the parmesan cheese, cut the bread, make the salad – this was routine. With my grandmother gone, I realized I needed to find a new way to fall in love with Florence.

Back in those days, there were hardly any tourists. Some, but you walked the streets comfortably. Now, you walk elbow to elbow with tourists and foreign students. It is so packed you cannot enjoy the city unless you wake up at the crack of dawn BEFORE the tourists have started their day.

The Central Market used to have lovely leather purses, cashmere sweaters, silk scarves, belts and more. Now, the vendors, year after year, sell the same products and it’s hard to know what is real leather and what is not. The designs are not special anymore. It’s sad to see this. Gold is so expensive that the Ponte Vecchio does not sell unique jewelry anymore either. BUT for the first timers to Florence, where the leather goods, etc. are all new to them, they think it is fantastic!

It’s amusing to hear conversations among tourists, there is a competition to know Florence better than the next person, to have been to Florence more times than another person, to be the best Florentine blogger, know the best restaurant  — you get the idea.

So, with my heart feeling a bit sad and nostalgic for the old days, I decided I needed to re-discover Florence in a different way.  I was curious to explore the hills above the Piazzale Michelangelo.

64F1C219-CF8E-4EFA-8BD4-F54CB65CD8F3I got lucky and as I was walking up a long road, I found “The Walking City” map. See the photo of the map. I want to see if they have other maps for walking the city like this. What a great adventure for people who have been to Florence many times, want to get away from the crowds and get some exercise. The views and the villas up there, as you can imagine, are fantastic.

If you make the walk all the way around, you’ll have this view of the Duomo from Piazzale Michelangelo!  Stop and treat yourself to a gelato, you deserve it!

Yes, you can see Florence with “fresh eyes!”

20 thoughts on “Florence – The Walking City… explore Piazza Michelangelo by foot

  1. I walked around the Piazzale Michelangelo my first time in Florence and yes…it was a hike, especially going up those stairs at 8 in the morning. Well worth it for the views.

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  2. I loved when I was in Florence, but it was as a student. The view from Piazzale Michelangelo is fantastic. In the month I was there I went three times. I’d love to go back to Florence.

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    1. You can do it… watch for cost of plane flights during the year and go in off season. I stayed at a Monastery to save money, the room was wonderful with private bath. So, you can make it economical. Start planning!

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    1. Thank you! I’ve been with relatives and they do have pasta almost every day and they area thin! In America we are made to feel like we cannot have pasta, bread, rice… but here they are all in good shape, they walk a lot and they do eat pasta and bread… lots of bread, but their bread is really good. Oh, and they ALWAYS bring a bowl of fruit to the table and that is their dessert. Very healthy eating here. So, I thought about you and your home cooking. Yesterday, they took a can of tuna packed in water, put it in a bowl, poured olive oil over it, added black olives and ate this with bread, salad and a bowl of pasta too. In America tuna is always made with mayonnaise. Fun to see Italian family cooking. 🙂

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      1. Sounds very yummy! I love Italian cuisine – not the things you get in restaurants, but homemade food. And I think the secret is to move a lot, especially in cities. Then you can eat much more carbs. And of course the olive oil… 🙂

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    1. Very different from 20 years ago. They don’t allow Starbuck’s here, so two Italians started a coffee place called, “Arnold’s Coffee.” It’s more American sized coffees, but they also have outlets to charge your phone. Good idea, because in Italy you cannot charge your phone anywhere. 🙂

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  3. Great post. I call the view of the Duomo from Piazza Michelangelo “a view to die for” because I think it is so breath-taking and one of a kind. I am always amazed to hear that people who stay for a very brief period in the city do not manage to go “that far”. That should be an essential thing to do in Florence.

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  4. I first went to Florence in 1989, and again last year. Yes, it has changed a lot. But I still love the sight of the Duomo. Always reminds me of the poster from the movie ‘A Room With A View’ on my wall at university way way back.

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