on July 1, 2004
We booked a tour through Walking Tours of Florence called the Beautiful Views tour. Essentially, it’s a walk from the tour offices just north of the PonteVecchio across the Arno River and up a very large hill to the Piazelle Michelangelo and then to San Minneato al Monte church. At each stop along the way, there are different panoramic views of the Florence skyline and the Tuscan countryside in the distance. I also understand it’s the best place to catch a sunset, and though we started our tour in the sunshine, by sunset the haze and clouds kept us from seeing the sky change colors.
On the walk to the top of the hill, our guide would point out different types of architecture and historical oddities about the city. Case in point -- the Ponte Vecchio. Above the bridge is a walkway build by the Medici family, so they wouldn’t have to cross the bridge with the peasants, but rather walk above them. We were also treated to a special surprise. On the way up the hill, we passed through a beautiful garden – it was only open one month out of the year. We could view the skyline through rose gardens, hydrangea plants and even lemon trees!
We stopped at the Piazelle Michelangelo to take some photos and take in the view, but we weren’t done yet. We walked up a bit farther to San Minneato al Monte. This church sits at the highest point, and offers the most unobstructed views of Florence. In addition, every day at 5:30 p.m. the monks gather at the bones of Saint Minneus and sing Gregorian chants for all who will listen.
This is not a tour for those who don’t want to walk, but even if you can’t take the guided tour, you could catch a cab to the top. We decided to save our feet and cab it down the hill, and it cost us about 8.5 €. However, I highly recommend the tour, unless you’re a Florence expert and know all about the history and the city. Plus, half the fun of seeing the beautiful views is getting to them! The tour, through Walking Tours of Florence, cost 25€.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009