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“A Hidden Gem - Small BUT Perfectly Formed + Excellent City Views”

Basilica San Miniato al Monte
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San Miniato al Monte and Orsanmichele Art Tour
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Piazzale Michelangelo Panoramic Private Walking Tour
Ranked #11 of 635 things to do in Florence
Certificate of Excellence
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Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Situated on a hill (monte) outside Florence with unsurpassed views of the city, this structure is one of the finest examples of Tuscan Romanesque architecture, built between the 11th and 13th centuries.
London, UK
Level 6 Contributor
177 reviews
102 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 410 helpful votes
“A Hidden Gem - Small BUT Perfectly Formed + Excellent City Views”
Reviewed April 5, 2012

This small church is my '4th place' attraction in Florence.

From the outside it has a pretty frontage, which is just about all you can see of the exterior, and it has the bonus of being situated upon high (higher than the adjacent viewpoint at Piazzale Michelangelo - I review that attraction later on....). However, the real beauty is, like most of the attractive buildings in Florence, on the inside.

I am compiling an extensive Trip Advisor 'Trip List' for my recent 6 full-day visit to see the sights of Florence. Please fell free to access it via my TA Profile - I hope it is of interest and use to you and I hope all of my individual reviews/photos get posted properly as I know from past experience that the Trip Advisor submission process sometimes, incorrectly, 'blocks' them despite me being a so-called 'Senior Contributor'.....

Just before covering my personal views of the Church, please note that as official information sources can change and the Internet links at the top of each attraction webpage on Trip Advisor can be wrong (or even absent !) I deal with visitor information/ticketing etc in the dedicated section for the attraction in my TA Trip List. This is because I have sole-control over that, can add Internet links and can edit/update it with ease to reflect changes (reviews cannot be amended after they're posted). It might also contain photos/video links if they fail to get posted with this review or on this webpage....

There is a very decent sized 'plateau' in front of the church, so you can not only fully appreciate the frontage but also gain a decent vantage to look down on the city centre.

When I visited the area was almost deserted, which gave me the opportunity to walk around inside completely alone - this enhanced the viewing experience for me as there were no noise intrusions to spoil the pace and calm

The inside is as large (or small !) as you would expect from the exterior dimensions - except that I felt it unusual to see the area around the altar have steps/raised areas. The advantage that gave for me was to be closer to the roof area, which is the real delight of the church as it is so attractive in design, material composition and decoration; I think it is essentially painted wood.

Entry was free and the interior 'unpoliced', so visitors were trusted to behave and not create long-term damage to the decorative work by using camera flash to photograph the visual delights - something most will surely do, so get in the know about your camera to ensure you can properly capture images as there is not much light inside.....

I've added a selection of my photos to this review, which start outside then slowly progress to close-ups of that beautiful decorative roof work.

Outside there was a path leading to (what I assume is) an unusual cemetery area, but I didn't really find that of interest and was certainly not eye-catching to me like the church interior was.

A lot of visitors to Florence will in all likelihood be drawn to looking down on the city from Piazzale Michelangelo - in my opinion, Whilst that activity IS worthwhile, in my opinion the more enjoyable thing to do in this area is to then walk up the incline from the piazzale to this beautiful church to not only gain a slightly different viewpoint of the city but, more importantly, experience the visual delights within. The church is not that imposing or large and you will probably not spend too long looking around - but it is nonetheless utterly charming...

Visited February 2012
Thank LPWilliams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Boston, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
120 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Lovely views”
Reviewed April 5, 2012

Although a bit out of the way this hill-top site offered gorgeous views down and across the Florence cityscape. We plopped ourselves down on one of the Piazza benches upon arrival and just took in the panorama for quite a awhile.
Afterwards, we explored this very old church and marveled at it's ancient interior architecture and frecoes. We stayed for Mass which was said by a young monk and the sung responses and prayers were provided by several older monks in attendance. It was like steeping back into the Middle Ages .....

Visited March 2012
Thank SoEndBear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great views, interesting church”
Reviewed April 1, 2012

walk up to Fort Belvedere and then on to the Basilica

Visited March 2012
Thank roughcrook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Greatest vantage for view of sunset on Florence”
Reviewed March 31, 2012

Hundreds of people crowd the Piazzale Michelangelo for the sunset, but the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte is up a bit higher on the hill and virtually empty. Reminiscent of the facades of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella, this church is smaller and has family burial crypts below the front entrance

Visited March 2012
1 Thank paniolopete
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fleet, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Our favourite church in Florence”
Reviewed March 28, 2012

We loved this church which is well worth the hike up the hill! There is a beautiful cemetery with statues of a soldier and his sweetheart (would love to know the story). Also if you go up there for around five o'clock in the evening you will hear the monks chanting, which is very atmospheric!

Visited April 2011
1 Thank greekanna13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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