Up on the hill, Oltrarno

I think I already told you, the day my friends and I arrived in Florence, it had been a stormy day and our evening spent wandering around the city, getting a feel for the place was warm but with heavy clouds, darkening the sky. I’m pleased to report that the weather after that was glorious. Blue skies and sunshine and, according to the temp report on the Farmacia outside our apartment, temperatures in the 30°C’s every day. I loved it.

So, we couldn’t spend all of it inside, could we? On our last full day, my friend and I headed a little out of the city to the Piazzale Michelangelo which I’d read about before I got there. I’d seen photos of the view from there and I knew I had to go and see them for myself.

The view across the city of Florence. Breathtaking.

It’s not actually that far a walk from the centre of the city, across the river Arno and up the hill to the Piazzale Michelangelo. My friend and I, however, took a taxi. By the Thursday, our feet were killing us and we’d both developed blisters; that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! It cost about €15 in the taxi, which was a little expensive, when you consider a taxi in from the airport costs €20. But, it was well worth it to see the view across the river, over the rooftops of the city and beyond into the Tuscan hills.

The river Arno, the Duomo, and the church at the centre-front is Santa Croce.

The Oltranro area is known for art and arty things. There were quite a few artists up on the hill, making the most of the sunshine, making beautiful pictures like this one. I could have stood and watched this woman for a long time.

Medieval city walls stretching up around the Boboli Gardens.

Another thing I wanted to do while I was on that side of the river was visit the romanesque church of San Miniato al Monte. It was a little walk (up about another thousands stairs- I nearly didn’t bother because it was hot and my feet hurt but my friend kicked me up the behind and said, “Come one. You’ll hate yourself later if you don’t!”) further up the hill and it was beautiful.

San Miniato al Monte, well worth climbing all the stairs for.

The interior of the church is very dark so I didn’t manage any photos- a shame because it’s really very beautiful- but there’s a good photo here if you want to see. It’s quite unusual though, with a raised choir and above the choir is a beautiful mosaic of Jesus and St Miniato (persecuted for being Christian, thrown to the lions and beheaded. He then picked up his own head and walked back to his little hermitage on the hill where the church now stands.) I’m glad my friend persuaded me up there because it is one of the loveliest spots with the best view that we visited.

There is an Olivetan monastery attached to the church which sells its own products from this little shop. The shrub which grows around the door of the shop and along the cloister wall is so beautiful and smells heavenly but I don’t know what it is. Anyone? Bueller?

The wee cemetery in front of the church. Now that’s a view you could enjoy for all eternity.

Oh, we walked back down into the city, by the way. 15-20 minutes, tops! 😉

3 thoughts on “Up on the hill, Oltrarno

  1. That’s jasmine growing round the doorway. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that big before.

    • Thanks, Lesley, I was hoping you could help me. It stretched for ever and smelled gorgeous.

      ps. That’s what she said!

  2. Wow you did a lot of climbing on your holiday! I love areas that attract artistic people, such good opportunities for people watching :)

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