The view of the Duomo di Firenze from Piazzale Michaelangelo
Few cities can lay a stronger claim to having influenced the course of human history and culture than Florence (or Firenze, as the Italians say). As the birthplace of the Renaissance, medieval Florence played host to an astounding array of scientific and cultural innovations that went on to prove seminal to western conceptions of aesthetics and knowledge. Remnants of this illustrious past remain fairly easy to find, thanks largely to a brilliantly preserved historic core. The heart of Florence, thus, has remained virtually unchanged since the days of Leonardo da Vinci and Michaelangelo, and remains positively littered with artistic jewels handcrafted by them and their contemporaries. The best place to appreciate it all from, arguably, is Piazzale Michaelangelo, a hilltop plaza from where the visitor is rewarded with spectacular views of the Duomo (the city’s main cathedral) soaring above a 700 year old sea of red tile roofs, backed by the rolling hills of Tuscany.