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Forte de Belvedere

On top of the Boboli Gardens

Forte di Belvedere

One of Florence’s best and closest balconies is the Belvedere Fort, a graceful six-point star designed by the indefatigable Bernardo Buontalenti and built in 1590–5, not so much for the sake of defence but to remind any remaining Florentine republicans who was boss. Since 1958, it has been used for special exhibitions, but you can always enjoy the unforgettable views of Florence and the countryside from its ramparts.

View of the Duomo from the Forte de Belvedere

It is a lovely place for a break when sightseeing gets to be too much, with a big lawn on one side to stretch out on. There are two ways to get there: from the Boboli Gardens, or by ascending one of Florence’s prettiest streets, Costa San Giorgio, which begins in Piazza Santa Felicità, just beyond the Ponte Vecchio, and winds up the hill, past old villas and walled gardens.

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Via San Leonardo 1

Hours Open only during special exhibitions

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Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Sailko, GNU Free Documentation License, Marco Bellucci