San Miniato is the church you see on the top of a hill on the far side of the Arno. That's all most people see of it. For a different Florentine experience, take a cab up to the church, do some exploring, and stroll back down to town.
One of the older of the many remarkable churches in Florence, San Miniato has a somewhat more intimate feeling than many. Built late in the first millennium, it includes art added through to the 15th century. Among these is the small, but magnificent shrine by Michelozzo incorporating Della Robbia terracotta’s.
On the upper level, behind the altar, there is a mosaic of Christ in benediction. Most visitors miss seeing this in all its glory because they either can't find the coin box to turn on the light or won't pay the 1€ fee. Pay the Euro. It's definitely worth it. The coin box is near the top of the stairs to the right. Another coin box near the church's entrance lights a wider area of the building.
Again, behind the altar, but this time on the lower level, there is a small purely Romanesque chapel that the resident monks still use for prayers. If you're lucky enough to be there for one of the offices, sit for a while on one of the benches outside the chapel and drift off to the middle ages.
When you've absorbed all you care to, take a leisurely stroll down the hill back to the city. This is how you'll get some of the picture-postcard views and see some others that aren't quite as commercial. An easy footpath leads you past views of vineyards and the city walls to Piazza Michelangelo. Filled with tour and city buses, this is the spot for getting that requisite panoramic photo of Florence. Sunsets from here can be spectacular (and rather romantic), but a dramatically cloudy day is great as well.
Continuing down via steps leading from the piazza, it's a pleasant stroll down to the city. Take the time to get a good look at one of the old city gates close to the Arno. After this walk, you will have earned that gelato.