While Florence is beautiful from the ground, it’s even more captivating with a bird’s eye view. From above, historical buildings tower above a sea of red roofs, stretching out towards the Tuscan countryside. Arguably the best views of the city can be found at the top of the many historic towers in Florence, so put on your walking shoes and climb up to the top for a fresh perspective of the city and surrounding region.
Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall of Florence, is one of the most distinctive buildings in the city, named after the palace’s architect, Arnolfo di Cambio. Its clock tower, Tower of Arnolfo, is its most memorable feature and dominates the skyline, 95 metres up above the historic Piazza della Signoria. Visitors can climb its 223 steps for a beautiful panoramic view, particularly picturesque at sunset.
Giotto’s Bell Tower is an excellent example of gothic Florentine architecture. Standing tall above the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza del Duomo, the Campanile is considered one of the most beautiful towers in Florence, if not in the country. It was designed by Italian painter and architect Giotto and built in the 14th century to a height of 84.7 metres. Visitors can walk up the tower’s 414 narrow steps, stopping at three observations floors, which offer differing perspectives of the surrounding city.
Tower of San Niccolò
Once a grand gate in Florence’s defence wall, the 14th century Tower of San Niccolò has been preserved both as a reminder of times past and for its views. Offering an easier climb than some of the other towers in Florence, there are just 160 steps to conquer to reach the top, where visitors can enjoy views over River Arno and the historic Oltrarno quarter, home to notable sites such as Palazzo Pitti and Piazzale Michelangelo.
While The Duomo isn’t a tower in the conventional sense of the word, its dome is worth climbing for its 360° views over the city and a close-up of its neighbour, Giotto’s Bell Tower. Built by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1418, the dome is 10 metres higher than the bell tower and offers a slightly different perspective of the city. On the way up the 463 steps to reach the viewing balcony at the summit, enjoy a close look at Giorgio Vasari’s frescos of the Last Judgement, painted on the interior ceiling.
Within a 90-minute drive or train ride from Florence there are a number of illustrious towers worth visiting for those who have the time to explore further afield. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, known for its striking inclination, is arguably the most famous tower in Tuscany. Elsewhere, the nearby town of San Gimignano is home to a number of tall towers, the highest of which is the Torre Grossa, meaning ‘big tower’ in Italian. From the summit it affords a beautiful view of the town and the Tuscan countryside. Another structure of note is Torre del Mangia (Tower of the Eater) in Siena which, when it was built in the 14th century, was one of the tallest secular towers in Italy. Visitors can climb its 500 steps to enjoy sweeping vistas over the Piazza del Campo and the rooftops of the beautiful town surrounding its base.
From its position in Piazza Della Republica, Hotel Savoy is perfectly located for those who wish to explore the grand towers in Florence.
Image credits: Florence Towers © iStock/MarioGut, Giotto's Bell Tower © iStock/Olav Wildermann, Tower of San Niccolo © iStock/Giorgio Magini, Palazzo Vecchio © iStock/KavalenkavaVolha