The original post can be accessed here.
I was inspired to write this post after reading Andi of My Beautiful Adventures post about her stop at the San Miniato al Monte basilica with Trafalgar Tours. Besides, I try to write about Florence every opportunity I get. It is my favorite city in Europe that I’ve been.
In her post, Andi noted that the basilica attracts very few visitors, yet it deserves to be on every visitor to Florence itinerary. Having been there, I was shocked to read that it isn’t heavily visited but looking back, even though the weather on both my visits was pleasant, very few people were there.
I suppose the reason for this is that it sits high above Florence. In fact, it is one of the highest points in the city. The climb up to the basilica is very stiff as well. Plus, it is also located near Piazzale Michelangelo, which if you’ve been to Florence, you’ll know that you definitely need some form of motorized transportation to at least go up it. Lest you want to be brave like me and hike up the endless array of stairs and paths to reach the piazza, which by the time you do, you need a liter of water and two scoops of gelato to hydrate and cool off.
After walking from the Duomo to Piazzale Michelangelo, the last thing you’ll want to do is walk further up steps to reach this basilica. I imagine that is why it is not visited heavily by tourists. When you reach the piazza and look to see the magnificent panoramic view of Florence, you think to yourself that nothing can beat what you are now capturing on film. Wrong!
I reiterate, the basilica is located on one of Florence’s highest points. You won’t see a better view of Florence. I stumbled upon what Andi and others describe as a hidden gem when I answered nature’s call. As I exited the public restroom, rather than returning my gaze back to the piazza, my curiosity about new places caused me to walk a little more down the sidewalk, and once I cleared out of the trees blocking it, I saw the magnificent marble facade and the mosaic of Christ between the Virgin and Saint Minias. Further research after the fact would later tell me that I was looking at a basilica nearly 800 years old.
One of the rather impressive sights around the basilica is the cemetery. The Porte Sante as it is known, was not laid out until 1854. Some impressive names in modern Italian history are buried there, including the creator of Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi. As you view the picture below, you’ll see that these fortunate few chose a resting place that afforded them with the most beautiful view of the city and Duomo they loved.
Don’t find yourself in Florence, missing out on this wonderful basilica. You’ll regret not seeing it after the fact. Get off the beaten path, sacrifice a few breaths, work those carbs off and enjoy the most magnificent view in the city.
Thank you Andi for the inspiration!