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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Piazalle Michelangelo(Michelangelo Square) is a mostly pedestrianized square in Florence, Italy. It is located across the Arno River from the city center in the Oltrarno district and offers spectacular panoramic views of the city. Dedicated to the famous Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo and home to copies of many of his works, this is a hugely popular tourist destination and the views from this vantage point have been photographed countless times.
Designed in the 19th century by Giuseppe Poggi, the Piazalle Michelangelo is now a bustling square filled with tourists, locals, vendors and a replica of Michelangelo’s world-famous David statue. The main attraction is the view and a large part of the square is a parking lot.
HistoryThe Piazalle Michelangelo was designed and built in 1869 by the Florentine architect Giuseppe Poggi, who had already designed several boulevards in central Florence. It was built on the left bank of the Arno River during a late-19th-century urban renovation project that took place all over the city, which at the time was the capital of Italy. This so-called ‘risanamento’ (‘rebirth’) resulted in many new streets and squares in the city, such as the Piazza della Repubblica Florence. Other works included the construction of walkways along the banks of the river, the removal of the 14th-century city walls on the right bank, and the building of a five-mile-long street on the left bank that ran up to the Piazalle Michelangelo on the left bank.
Poggi’s design required the demolishing of most of the third circle of city walls on the left bank of the Arno River, which dated from the late 13th century and the early 14th century. Only a small number of city gates, the ‘portas’, were left standing. They can now be seen in the middle of the squares that he placed alongside his wide boulevards.
The Piazalle Michelangelo was originally designed as a terrace in a typically 19th-century style with a Neo-classical monument dedicated to the sculptor Michelangelo. Poggi’s intention was to use the monument with loggia to display copies of his work, a museum of some sorts. His views were not realized though. The building, which still dominates the entire square, is now a restaurant offering panoramic views.
StatuesDedicated to Michelangelo, the Piazalle Michelangelo features many of the sculptor’s works – or at least replicas of them. The square is dotted with bronze copies of his most famous sculptures, the originals of which can be found elsewhere in Florence. Examples are the statue of David and the four allegorical statues of the Medici Chapel of San Lorenzo. The originals can respectively be admired in the Galleria dell’Accademia and the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
ViewsThe square’s one and only attraction is the view. It’s spectacular and takes in the entire city from Santa Croce to Forte Belvedere , as well as the Tuscan hills in the background. Many of Florence’s major landmark buildings can clearly be seen: the Florence Cathedral with its magnificent dome, the Ponte Vecchio and the Palazzo Vecchio or city hall.
San Miniato al MonteFrom the Piazalle Michelangelo, it is a short walk along the Via Galilei and a stairway to the pretty and historic San Miniato al Monte church. It was built in the 11th century and is surrounded by an impressive cemetery. This is a fine addition to any itinerary in Florence.
Visiting the Piazzale MichelangeloThe square is overrun with tourists throughout the year; there is no better place to see the city of Florence. Tourists arrive by busloads to take pictures of the views. Numerous vendors try to sell souvenirs and food. The extremely touristic atmosphere of the square is countered by the absolutely spectacular vistas.
How to Get ThereThe Piazalle Michelangelo can be reached by car, on foot or by public transport. There is a large parking lot near – or technically on – the square. People traveling by car can get to the square along the beautiful tree-lined Viale Michelangelo, which was built at the same time as the square itself. From the city center, it can also be accessed on Bus 12 and 13 or on the typical red sightseeing buses. Visitors who would like to walk up to the vantage point can do so as well. A stairway leads up to the hill from the Piazza Giuseppe Poggi in the San Niccolodistrict. These stairs are known as the ‘Poggi ramps’.
Similar and Nearby LandmarksOther major landmarks in the city include the magnificent Boboli Gardens, the Florence Cathedral and the beautiful Ponte Vecchio, among many others. Similar public squares are the Piazza della Signoria, the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata and the Piazza della Repubblica.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Jun 14, 2015