There are many things in life that I dislike; when a new t-shirt loses its shape after one wash, coffee spilling into the saucer, the continual disenfranchisement of minority groups in current political discourse. But nothing can quite send me into a two second rage like a crowd of tourists. I realised that in most cases I am also a tourist. But I am different, I am a special little snowflake with a blog and a spirit of adventure. Ok fine, I’m a ranty hypocrite. But it does mean that I have a great tip for you on how to avoid the crowds and get the best view in Florence.
My parents were amazing in Florence, they let me revert into true teenage sleeping habits and dream half the day away. And when they did see the need to wake me up just before lunch they approached holding a double espresso and a pastry out in front of them as protection. I trained my parents well. There was however one morning worth getting up early for; the morning we went to Piazzale Michelangelo.
There are a few places to go for a view over Florence, but since my fear of heights prevents me from climbing towers of death…my options were limited. And when my crowd hatred flares up, the options are even more so. But with the grace of coffee we were going to see Piazzale Michelangelo in the early morning light, and get there before any other tourist had raised their head above the parapet.
The side benefit of the hellishly early start (8am) was that it was only 30°C when we left the house, an important factor when walking anywhere in the Italian summer (Piazzale Michelangelo is only about a 20 minute walk from Sante Croce or 30 minutes with a complaining Runawaykiwi in tow). The first part of the walk was delightful, the second part with the unending steps was not so. But if I made it then so can you. And the end result is worth it.
Piazzale Michelangelo is also home to a replica of Michelangelo’s David (hence the name) and some very cool modern sculptures that look like they have been bitten and cracked by giants. The real art however is the view, you can see down all the bridges to Ponte Vecchio and see the Uffizi, Duomo and Sante Croce all in one shot. It is the picture postcard version of Florence. Because we were so early (and it was a Sunday) we almost had the place to ourselves. I say almost because we were actually sharing it with the Florence Vespa club, comprised of middle age Italian men who were 100% adorable. I have never seen a group of tanned men look so proud of tiny, tiny bikes.
We took in every angle of the view, giggled at the posturing Vespa men and then started our decent to Ditta for brunch. This was our last morning in Florence, and I can’t think of a better way to have spent it.