There’s something quite singular about Tuscan light. That soft, golden sunset that borders on grapefruit, painting Renaissance villas and vine-covered hills in whimsical shades of blush. At sunset, the Florentine countryside becomes a scene of ethereal tones, the picture-perfect Eden we all dream Tuscany to be…
We know the scene: windows rolled down, dolce-vita style scarf, hair blowing in the wind as you wind through olive groves imprinted on Tuscan hills. Bottle of wine in hand, perhaps some schiacciata and cheese to help, you park your Cinquecento or Vespa in a quiet spot, a locus amoenus of sorts, hidden away from the passing of time. And for a few short moments, your eyes are fixed on nothing but the changing colors of the sky.
More often than not, the scene is set in Siena’s countryside, Florence’s age-old rival. The territory houses gems of otherworldly beauty, from San Gimignano to hilltop marvels, rightly living up to its reputation as the textbook “Under the Tuscan Sun” experience. Yet the countryside isn’t your only option for catching that perfect sunset: Florence also offers a few sunset-worthy spots that might even top their olive-grove counterpart.
Palazzo Vecchio’s impressive tower is perhaps the most recognized marvel of the Florentine skyline – and affords one of the most beautiful views of the city you’ll find. Wander inside to find yourself immersed in centuries of history dating to medieval times. Its halls house works of art by masters from Donatello to Michelangelo, not to mention the private apartments of the illustrious Medici family. Yet art immersion aside, the climb to the top of the palace has a surprise in store for visitors: wind your way up to find a bird’s-eye view of Florence framed by a Tuscan explosion of orange rays. Here, the sunset frames the city of Florence as it’s swept by earthly tones.
Of course, another spot not to miss is postcard-perfect piazzale Michelangelo. If you’re feeling up to something new and perhaps a bit unconventional, grab yourself a Segway tour to avoid the tiring climb. Winding through Florence’s streets, your day on wheels ends in the famous nineteenth-century piazza, an area whose open space offers uninterrupted views of the Florentine skyline and the setting sun. Here, the play of light paints the city in its famed waterway: the Arno River, another perfect evening option. Here, after enjoying a riverside aperitivo, you can grab a barchetto, one of Florence’s traditional wooden boats. A barcaiolo, your water guide for the evening, will sweep your down the river, offering never-before-seen views of Florence colored by the setting sun. From centuries-old palaces to its most central locations, Florence is sure to satisfy your craving for a picture-perfect Tuscan sunset.
Head to destinationflorence.com for more sunset spots and special evening tours in Florence and the countryside.