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 Responses

  1. 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

    1. 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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