Florence – Piazza Michelangelo & Ponte Vecchio

Hi friends, welcome back to my Italy series! After checking into our hotel and having our first Italian meal, it was time to explore Florence. You never would’ve guessed it was hailing and nasty earlier because the sun came out and it felt like a brand-new day. I immediately fell in love with the quaint streets and charming buildings. The city center is closed to cars except taxis, buses, and residents so Florence was pretty quiet.

We passed by the Duomo and I’d seen it so many times in pictures and YouTube videos, but it was even more stunning in person. Walking by it every day never got old or less amazing. It was larger than I expected and very tricky to fit in one picture. I’ll be sharing more about it in a future post 🙂

We passed by Piazza della Repubblica with its iconic Merry Go Round, Column of Abundance, and Arcone Triumphal Arch. Back in Roman times, this was the forum of Florence. In the mid 1800s the square went through a major overhaul when Florence was briefly the capital of Italy. The square was widened and many buildings were destroyed in the process.

Jon and I walked alongside the Arno River and got our first look at Ponte Vecchio. This famous bridge was built in 1345 and the passageway at the top goes from Palazzo Vecchio through the Uffizi Gallery, and up to Pitti Palace. The ruling Medici family used the passageway to get around the city and butcher shops occupied the lower level. The butchers would throw the garbage in the river, but now gold, silver, and souvenir shops have taken residence. This bridge is very photogenic so make sure you go in the morning to get your shot before the sun moves behind it in the evening.


I had originally planned to explore the Pitti Palace on this afternoon, but the apartments in it were closed for restoration, so we enjoyed the slow start to our trip. The Bobli gardens were also on my list, but gardens after inclement weather are usually pretty muddy. So we wandered through a free rose garden on our way to Piazza Michelangelo. It was the perfect distraction from our exhaustion.

It takes around thirty-five minutes to walk from our hotel to Piazza Michaelango if you don’t stop to take pictures of everything, but you know I can’t resist. This piazza is a bit of a hike to get up to, but so worth it for the best views of Florence. It’s a popular spot to watch sunsets, but our sleep deprived selves enjoyed the early evening views just fine. There is also a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David and a handful of vendors if you need refreshments or souvenirs.

Jon and I had a great first day roaming the streets and getting a bearing for this beautiful city. We went to bed early to ready ourselves for a busy day of sightseeing the next day starting with the Uffizi Gallery. Stay tuned for more 🙂

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42 thoughts on “Florence – Piazza Michelangelo & Ponte Vecchio

  1. You are right about the movie scene. It has been shown in so many different films about Italy.

  2. See, they heard you were coming, so nature scrubbed Florence all fresh and clean for you. The Ponte Vecchio and Arno River are always a delight. We last saw them in Florence in 1984, but were happy to see the Arno in Pisa in 2019. Great views from up high. I love Italian cities and how beautiful they are surrounded by hills. Thanks for sharing Lyssy. Allan

    1. I like that theory 🙂 It’s hard to think of a more photogenic bridge than Ponte Vecchio. Italian cities are so idyllic, complete opposite of my normal views.

  3. Great post and so many beautiful photos, Lyssy. I’ve been to Italy many times, but never to Florence. Now I want to go and experience its unrivalled history, art, and architecture. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    1. Thank you, Aiva! You’d love Florence, so much to see, do, and of course eat 🙂

  4. So pleased the weather improved for you after the earlier hailstorm. The views from the hilltop are superb and on both occasions that I’ve been in Florence, I’ve wandered up their and not been disappointed.

    1. I never would’ve believed it hailed if I didn’t see it myself. The views are so beautiful overlooking the city. Next time I want to explore more of the area across the river.

    1. Thank you! Compared to the expected forecast on our trip we got pretty lucky!

    1. Thank you! I think it might be impossible to take a bad picture of Florence 🙂

  5. Hard to imagine that it’d hailed the day before; the sun was definitely out and shining! Your photos brought me back to my trip to Florence way back when I was a teenager, especially the rewarding views of the city from piazza Michelangelo…truly iconic! Glad Florence (or “Firenze”) exceeded your expectations!

    1. I’m sure I complained about being too hot on the way up, but better than being pelted with hail! Glad this brought back some good memories for you 🙂

  6. Lovely pictures of Florence. I especially like the shots of Ponte Vecchio. Good call on going first thing in the morning to capture the best lighting and to avoid the crowds. It’s too bad that the Pitti Palace was closed, but at least you got to explore the gardens.

    1. Thank you! Ponte Vecchio is such a neat bridge to take pictures of. I always love exploring palaces, but I guess that means I’ll have to go back one day 🙂

  7. These photos are wonderful and really portray the charm of the city streets and scenes. The Ponte Vecchio is so unique and photogenic- I would be up early to capture that as well- especially with the reflection of it in the water! The view from Piazza Michelangelo is just stunning as well 😍

    1. Thank you!! It is really hard to take a bad picture in Florence, it’s so picturesque. I’m running out of memory I have so many pictures, but they’re worth it!

  8. I can’t recall if it was the Ponte Vecchio in Florence or the Ponte Rialto in Venice, but in one of them a cobbler made custom leather boots right over your leg and foot (you’d come back a few hours later to pick up the finished product). The views from Piazzale Michelangelo are just as I remember them (though the water in the Arno looks low and muddy). The Basilica just up from the Piazzale is beautiful as I recall. Thought it was Santa Croce (where several famous names from the Renaissance are buried) but it’s actually San Miniato al Monte.

    1. Wow, now that is an authentic experience! The water makes the Hudson River look slightly refreshing. I didn’t know about San Miniato al Monte, but now I wish I did. You’re right it is beautiful and it’s going on my list for next time. We did stop into Santa Croce though, that’s coming up next!

  9. What a lovely day exploring! Such lovely old world charm with those cobblestones streets. I am loving that bridge and you can’t beat the view from the top of that piazza.

    1. It was a really great afternoon of exploring and really distracted us from any jet lag. All the streets were so charming and the views couldn’t be beat. I wasn’t ready to leave Florence at all.

  10. Wow, Florence looks like a stunning city! Your photos are so pretty and walking up to that high point for the view looks absolutely worth the effort. Very excited to read more about your Italy trip!

  11. Beautiful photos of a unique and exceptionally photogenic city. Florence looks absolutely delightful through your lens. Hard to believe really that you had hail earlier looking at these sunny, blue sky photos. The Ponte Vecchio with its colourful reflection in the Arno river and the multi-coloured marble facade of Duomo stand out for me as a visual experience.

  12. Nice share. Sensational pictures and some nice descriptions. We spent 5 days in Florence in October of 2017. It was sensational. Lots of walking. Gelato. Seeing David. The Duomo. Ponte Vecchio. The museums. The street life. Pizza. Need to return:) Thanks for sharing.

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