When Florence was the capital of Italy, in 1865, the architect Giuseppe Poggi created the staircase leading from Porta di San Niccolò to Piazzale Michelangelo and the Basilica of San Miniato sul Monte alle Croci.
The steps start at the mid point of Via san Niccolò and end at the San Miniato churchyard.
The square is dedicated to the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo and has copies of David and the 4 allegories of the Medici’s San Lorenzo Chapels. The copies are in bronze, while the originals are in white marble.
The panorama from Piazzale Michelangelo is wonderful: with one glance, one can admire the Uffizi, the Cathedral, Palazzo della Signoria and Fiesole with its splendid bell tower.
Just behind Piazzale Michelangelo, there is a portico in neo-classical style, also designed by Poggi, which was intended for all Michelangelo’s works, but which has always been the location for cafés and restaurants instead.
Continuing the ascent, there is a staircase leading to the church of San Salvatore al Monte alle Croci. San Miniato church, an important Renaissance construction, is also a highly valuable example of Romanic Florentine architecture. The façade is at the same time austere and attractive, with a pattern of alternate curved and triangular gables, as on the Baptistery; the lower part has five arches, the interior is divided into three naves; the capitals are partly in marble and partly in brickwork. The floor of the central nave is divided into decorative squares, and at the end there is the Chapel of the Crucifix by Michelozzo di Luca della Robbia.