Piazzale Michelangelo represents the archetypal of a scenic terraced square from the second half of the 19th century.
In the centre of the square the architect designed the Monument to Michelangelo (1875) which is a sculptural bronzed group composed of five ideal copies from some of the main sculptures created by Michelangelo in Florence: The “David” - the original is housed in the Academy Gallery, Florence- and the four allegoric sculptures called “Day”, “Night”, “Dawn” and “Dusk”, which originals are placed, respectively, in the outstanding sepulchres of Giuliano di Lorenzo de Medici and Lorenzo II de Medici, hosted in the Sagrestia Nuova (New Sacristy) in the Basilica di San Lorenzo.
Giuseppe Poggi projected as well the impressive Loggia which is almost linked to the hill, at the back of the Monument to Michelangelo.
Poggi created the Loggia in order to utilize it indoors as an exclusive museum devoted to some of the works by Michelangelo set in Rome, but his ambitious idea did not produce a response from the related authorities. “La Loggia” has always been a formal panoramic coffee bar and restaurant.
From the steps located at the rear of “La Loggia” visitors can reach the Chiesa di San Salvatore al Monte alle Croci, conducted by the Franciscan Order, which is a simple and refined jewel from the Renaissance.
The prestigiuos Florentine architect “Il Cronaca” (nickname of Simone del Pollaiulo,1449-1504) enlarged and restored the Church at the end of the 15th century from the former oratory of San Damiano on commission from both the Franciscans and the Arte di Calimala, the ancient well-off Florentine league of woollen cloth merchants.
The plain and delicate façade is only ornamented by three timpani windows and a same featured portal.
The indoors are as well graceful and unpretentious, trying to break down with the architectonical model of Brunelleschi, considered almost an imperative by then.
The Church hosts some beautiful artworks, like a “Pietà” attributed to the notorious Florentine painter Neri di Bicci (1419-1491) and a “Deposition” attributed to the well-known Florentine sculptor and ceramist Giovanni Della Robbia (1469ca-1529) son and great-nephew, respectively, of the most celebrated Andrea and Luca Della Robbia.
Furthermore than the most elegant “La Loggia” in the proximities of Piazzale Michelangelo there are several fine bars and restaurants like:
- “Il Rifrullo” (Via San Niccolò, 55): A cozy bar, with a romantic ambiance. It is one of the preferred sites by the Florentines in Oltrano for having a noon aperitif or a cocktail in the evening. Its fresh pastries for breakfast or tea time are a must.
- “Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccolò” (Via San Niccolò, 60): A popular old tavern specialized in ancient Florentine cuisine, paying special attention to extraordinary receipts currently in “danger of extinction”, at least with regard to the main urban areas. Tuscan wines are first-class.
- “Alla Vecchia Bettola” (Viale Ariosto, 32/34). It is a colourful, cool and lovely restaurant. Its traditional Tuscan appetizers, the home made pasta and the baked and rustling lamb, are absolutely delicious. The ample selection of Tuscan wines is very good.
Oltrarno Side of Florence
The Cathedrals : Basilica di San Miniato al Monte, Cappella Brancacci, Santo Spirito
Main Monuments : Palazzo Pitti, Piazzale Michelangelo, Ponte Vecchio
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