San Niccolo' District
The San Niccolo' area is located in the part of town that runs along the left bank of the river Arno, at the feet of San Miniato and Arcetri hills. The area goes from Ponte Vecchio to San Niccolo' Tower along the Arno river and overlooked by the green hill where the Piazzale Michelangelo, San Miniato al Monte Abbey and Villa Bardini are located. You can see the beauty of this hill from the river banks opposite the San Niccolo' area. The San Niccolo' Tower is located in Piazza Poggi, it was actually one of the gates of the old town walls built in 1324. The Tower has been recently renovated and is opened to the public to enjoy its amazing view, it can be visited with a guide (30 minutes tour) and the ticket is only 3,00 Euro (the tower is open only in Spring and Summer).
If you are coming from Ponte Vecchio there is a charming walk up the steep hill of Costa San Giorgio, here you can leave behind the rush of downtown Florence and start admiring the beauty of hidden streets and Florentine life. Make sure you have good shoes and you will be rewarded arriving at the Bardini Garden (better in Spring through early Autumn), where you can lay your eyes on the city monuments while remaining immersed in this beautifully restored garden. Check out also the terraces of Villa Bardini Museum. Back on the street and walking 100 meters up the hill you can find the entrance of Forte Belvedere where, from these old castle walls, you will be astonished by one of the most characteristic views of the city. If you then wish to go back to town from a different route you can pass through the Boboli Gardens, which will bring you back to Piazza Pitti and Ponte Vecchio, two steps away from Santo Spirito square.
A must do/see in town is Piazzale Michelangelo, located on the hill overlooking San Niccolo' Tower. This amazing terrace overlooking the city of Florence is a perfect spot to take romantic pictures, you may encounter newly weds shooting their albums here. All year long, the staircase on the left side of the square, is crowded with people waiting for the sunset or just enjoying the view. A Statue of Michelangelo's David is located right in the center of the square (the real one is safe in the Academy Gallery). Piazzale Michelangelo can be reached by walking up or down from the 'rampe' (curvy street) from San Niccolo' Tower, it is just 5 minutes walk. If you are in town during the month of April, May and June, just pay a visit to the Iris Garden and the Rose Garden (only open in those months, free admittance), you will find them on the way downhill from the Piazzale to San Niccolo' Tower. Piazzale Michelagelo can also be reached by Bus: you can take Ataf Bus 13 leaving from SMN Railway Station or the Hop on Hop off Busses.