It was built in 1869 on the design of the architect Giuseppe Poggi on a hill just south of the historic center, to complete the redevelopment works on the left bank of the Arno . In fact, since that year Florence was the capital of Italy and the whole city was engaged in an urban renewal, the so-called Risanamento , or the bourgeois renaissance of the city: the rivers were created; on the right bank, instead of the old walls, they were opened the ring road in the manner of boulevard; on the left bank, the Viale dei Colli , a tree-lined panoramic road 8 kilometers long, was drawn along the hill of San Miniato, at whose summit the square was built as a privileged panoramic terrace overlooking the city. The chronicle of the rapid construction of this last enterprise has been particularly described by the Italian journalist Pietro Coccoluto Ferrigni (known under the pseudonym of Yorick ) who does not fail to report how a part of the Florentines was sorry "for the excessive expense" of the construction .
The square, dedicated to the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo , presents copies of some of his famous works preserved in Florence: the David and the four allegories of the Medici Chapels of San Lorenzo . These copies are made of bronze, while the originals are all in white marble. The monument was brought up by nine pairs of oxen on 25 June 1873 .
Poggi also designed the neoclassical style loggia that dominates the entire terrace and which today houses a panoramic restaurant. Originally it was supposed to house a museum of Michelangelo's works, never built. In the wall of the balcony, located under the loggia, there is an epigraph in cubit characters that recalls his work: Giuseppe Poggi Florentine architect turn around here is his monument MCMXI .
The panorama embraces the heart of Florence, from Forte Belvedere to Santa Croce, passing through the bridges and bridges of Florence in sequence, especially the Ponte Vecchio ; the Duomo , the Palazzo Vecchio , the Bargello and the octagonal bell tower of the Badia Fiorentina stand out , not forgetting the opposite hills to the north of the city with the center of Fiesole and Settignano .
The Piazzale can be accessed by car along the tree-lined Viale Michelangelo, built in those same years, or by walking up the monumental stairways called Rampe del Poggi from Piazza Poggi in the district of San Niccolò.
In the past the square itself represented an important junction of the Florence tram network , completely dismantled by 1958 : the same was in fact crossed since the early twentieth century from line 13 that from Piazza del Duomo through the Ponte alle Grazie and Piazza Ferrucci on viale Michelangelo making a stop in Via del Gelsomino, where there was a tram depot. In 1927, line 13 became circular and was called 13 black with the route Piazza Duomo-Piazzale Michelangelo-Porta Romana-Piazza Duomo the reverse circular was called 13 red.