It is a fine walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo, on up to San Miniato al Monte, and downhill through a nice residential area. The stairway up to Piazzale Michelangelo starts at Piazza G. Poggi, located on the south side of the Arno exactly midway between the bridges Ponte Alle Grazie and Ponte S. Niccolò. You’ll naturally linger, enjoying the famous vista from the piazzale, big piazza. Che bella veduta!
Then continue up the main street, viale Galileo, past one church to the next one, the richly decorated San Miniato al Monte. The church design, with a crypt below and the choir above is in a style pre-dating the Renaissance called Tuscan Romanesque. Across the wide street viale Galileo and a bit down from the church, take the stepped section, called via di San Salvatore al Monte, though maps may show only a few serpentine lines to depict it. You’ll find yourself heading downhill, back toward the river, on via del Monte alle Croce. I wonder if the cat houses (small houses for real cats, that is) are still in the fenced off wooded area? As we approach the old wall, we stop for wine at the enoteca Fuori Porta, Outside the Wall, at via del Monte alle Croce 10r.
We take the #7 city bus up the hill to Fiesole. The steep-ish street off the main piazza (and end of the bus line) affords one of the famous views of Florence. We dawdle, and have visited artisan shops and once hit a great market day. I led us on a walk back down via Vecchia Fiesolana. I was thinking I had got us lost (again), especially when some other walkers turned right, and I convinced myself we should head left. We all came onto the same street below. We walked to the church San Domenico, then caught the bus from there into town.
Some short recommendations
Giny recommends Ponte Vecchio at set-up time—0900.
I Due Fratellini, the two little brothers, via del Cimatori 38/r, for wine and panini. If you always wanted to drink some wine on a Florence sidewalk, action all around you, and have a numbered slot where you can set your wine glass, you’re there!
At the Pitti Palace, a ticket to the fabulous Boboli Gardens includes entry to the Costume Museum, Galeria del Costume. Giny learned about the tutta, a one piece overall type of clothing that suited the visionary Italian Futurist era. And did you know that the Italians originated bluejeans? Yep, that’s from blu de Genova.
Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, the Office of the perfumery-pharmaceutical of Santa Maria Novella (but you knew that) near the train station at via della Scala 16. It is a store for their soaps, perfumes, candles and elixirs, it’s free, with great spaces and a glimpse into the Santa Maria Novella courtyard. A perfumery with style and history.
Il magazzino La Rinascente, the department store The Renaissance, at Piazza della Repubblica 1, has an eating area and veranda overlooking the piazza off its 4th floor.
This post was updated in 2017.