Without a doubt, almost every angle of Florence is postcard worthy, just wander around and each corner can (and will) reveal a surprise. Below I have listed some of the more classical photo vantage points, and I have added several links so you can visit them virtually before arriving in the city - this way you will know exactly what you are looking for:
√ the streets of the historical center especially around the city municipality building, Palazzo Vecchio, whose doors are protected by a majestic copy of Michelangelo's David:
√ the graffiti that, according to legend, was carved by Michelangelo on the Palazzo Vecchio wall
√ the old bridge Ponte Vecchio capturing the Arno river as it makes its course towards Pisa and Livorno;
√ the famous Brunelleschi dome, the crowning jewel on the city's cathedral
√ the faces of the tourists as they marvel over the gelato shops and stare in awe at the white marble fountains
√ the David statue photographed from between the paws of one of the lions, the unofficial guardians of the Loggia dei Lanzi
√ Santa Croce and its white Carrara marble facade which overlook the square where the historical football (Calcio Storico) is played and over which the great poet Dante Alighieri closely watches over.
These are all wonderful places where you can take many memorable photos.
The Number One Panoramic Spot
Piazzale Michelangelo provides an excellent panoramic view easily shot with a semi wide-angle lens. Even a less experienced photographer can get some wonderful shots (often in all light conditions). However, it is at sunset and especially in the twilight hours that the city pulls out the stops with some splendid colors, offering tourists a show that is the envy of many European and world capitals.
A list of suggestions wouldn't be complete without the most spectacular place where you can take some great photos of the city: Piazzale Michelangelo, universally recognized as the perfect photo spot overlooking city. The Florence terrace, located next to the Rose garden, Boboli Gardens and Forte Belvedere. The square is actually relatively new in comparison to the skyline below. However, perhaps this was for the best, how else could someone have picked such a photographic spot if it antecedent its surroundings?
If you want to go even further up, I suggest you climb the stairs to San Miniato, and use the small terrace in front of the church. If you decide to venture within these hallowed walls - you will find another world to photograph. I encourage you to wander around the artistic cemetery, with its monumental grave markers: weeping angels and grim reapers carved in marble.
From the Outside Looking In
Another great place where you can experiment is Fiesole, located on the opposite side of the city as Piazzale Michelangelo. Just the little town itself offers many excellent opportunities, the Roman amphitheater, the Etruscan walls and the fabulous paths into the wood areas where Leonardo da Vinci “let” his apprentice test his theory on flying. The road that leads up to the city is loaded with photos spots overlooking the city from a totally different vantage point, proffering a skyline that not everyone gets to appreciate. On a clear day, it seems like you can see everything!
A Bird's Eye View from Above
Even More Ideas
If the idea of doing a photo-shoot from up high is what you love, then check out this article with several Florence roof tops where you can go for free!
One of my secret places is the top of the Giotto's Bell Tower. I know there are a lot of steps to climb, but the final view is priceless. Reserve your spot and pack your camera bag. For the photographer, you need to remember that at the top there is a protective net running along the parapet but it won't detract from the beauty of the vista. The best thing is the view is 360º, covering every angle of the city.
However it is not the only place you can get a view from above, another is within the Orsanmichele museum, you get glimpses of the Florence skyline while taking in some the amazing original statues which once adorned the church's exterior walls.
Check the opening hours, they normally close before sunset. But if you check out the link above you will find several terraces which open just in time for the spectacular colors at the end of the day.
Not to mention the perfect opportunity for a romantic outing with that someone special in one of the most beautiful cities in the world!
Another, almost secret place, is atop the Rinascente store next to Piazza della Repubblica. And the best thing about this venue? You can take the escalator practically to the top … no steps! Grab an espresso or cappuccino and settle down to take some lovely photos.
Unusual Vantage Points
Though often criticized by the locals for its ultra modern looks in a city soundly grounded in the past, I can't help but point out that for someone who likes to play with juxtaposition of lines, angles, curves, corners and mirrored reflections an interesting place to explore for architectural photos is the new courthouse, located on the city outskirts near the Peretola airport. This modern structure building offers an alternative contrasting point of view with the historic skyline in a distance.
I may have already mentioned the Arno River but now I am suggesting that you reverse your position and take photos not of the river from the bridge but of the bridge from the river. There are many ways you can get close up to the river (without getting wet) and they provide ample opportunities to snap a few very unique shots. From taking a boat ride downstream to going out on a paddle board - you will find something just your speed.
Finally, for the reportage lovers don't miss the Mercato Centrale San Lorenzo where butchers and old shopkeepers make show of their ancient knowledge, but always ask permission to take pictures!