Fiesole

On the hills just above Florence lies the quiet comune of Fiesole. It is famous for its ruins, Roman and Etruscan; for Fra Angelico, who took his vows there as a friar of the Dominican Order; for Monte Ceceri, where Leonardo da Vinci conducted his flying experiments; and for unparalleled panoramic views of Florence.

I visited on a Saturday afternoon last February, conveyed from Florence by the Number 7 bus. When I got there, the main square was sunny and quiet; the few tourists I could see had congregated for lunch in the restaurants around the piazza. The square itself was deserted…

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…as was (or nearly) the Cathedral.

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I didn’t have a map so I simply picked out whatever paths seemed to be most promising. The road just ahead of the bus stop led uphill; narrow enough at the beginning, it tapered even further…

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…past tall houses and tree-lined walls…

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…and after reaching a panoramic viewpoint (where I took the photo at the beginning of the post) I turned back and went down.

The road just behind the cathedral led downhill: to the old Etruscan walls…

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…and Roman ruins…

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…and a road lined with huge bare trees and benches. A local was walking her dog in this patch of green but both disappeared when I approached. The sun and the bench and the peaceful silence seemed to me too good to waste so I took a time out from walking and just sat there and did nothing. The group of teenagers who had followed me downhill decided I probably didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going and went back up the road.

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The road leading uphill from the Cathedral to the Franciscan monastery led to another pleasant surprise. Halfway up, there was a small park with lots of trees and benches and wonderful views of Florence. (There was also a local in a nearby leather goods store who kept on throwing me suspicious looks — he obviously wasn’t the pleasant surprise, lol.) Shade all around. 😉 I wished I had thought to bring some food with me; it would have been a great spot for a picnic.

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And finally, on the top of the hill…

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…the Franciscan monastery itself. There was an old man having a heart-to-heart talk with his grandkids…

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…families enjoying the sun…

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…and of course (it’s Fiesole!) wonderful views.

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2 thoughts on “Fiesole”

  • Wonderful photos Gaia, and what a thoroughly charming place: a place I’d definitely be enticed to explore. I love the old narrow Medieval streets. And the views too of course.
    Alison

    • Thank you Alison! It had an air of being preserved in time, like nothing much ever went on there, so it was a good contrasting break from Florence and perfect for a picnic.

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