Fiesole: Etruscan Glory Just Above Florence

By January 10, 2017 LE Blog No Comments
Fiesole above Florence
A short taxi or bus ride from the city center of Florence, Fiesole doesn’t feel quite as ambitious as a day trip. Yet its history is distinct and important. No trip to Florence is complete without a side trip up into its surrounding hills. Though it too gets crowded with tourists, Fiesole’s hilltop village atmosphere is a nice foil for Florence’s grandiosity.

Fiesole’s history is more ancient than that of Florence. First settled in the Bronze age, Fiesole later became a key Etruscan town. Under Roman control it grew in importance and became a rival city to Florence. When the Florentines took it over in the 12th century, it became the cool, airy country cousin, where many important families including the Medici had country homes.

Today people flock to Fiesole for the stunning views over the Duomo and rooftops of Florence. Many of the city’s wealthy families live up here in grand homes with huge picture windows.

Piazza Mino is your entry point. From here you will easily find Fiesole’s Duomo, which holds the crypt of St. Romulus, Fiesole’s patron saint. On the square, we recommend Perseus (Piazza Mino, 9, phone 055 59143) for excellent food and amazing views over Florence. The tourist office, nearby on Via Portigiani, can give the information you will need to visit the Etruscan tombs on the outskirts of town.

But the best of Fiesole’s history can be seen in its museums, all accessible on a joint ticket:

  • Teatro Romano – The 1st century BC Roman theater is in excellent condition. Seating 3000, it is still used for summer festival performances and is open to tour.
  • Archeological Museum – This museum includes a nice collection of ancient Etruscan, Greek and Roman artifacts. Don’t miss the fragments of aristocratic Etruscan tombs, dating back to the 7th century BC.
  • Bandini Museum – This art museum houses a large collection of della Robbia ceramics, along with 13th and 14th century Tuscan paintings by the Italian Primitives.
  • Capella San Jacopo – The 11th century St. James Chapel used to be the oratory of the Bishop’s palace. It features a fresco by Bicci di Lorenzo and a collection of church artifacts and jewels spanning Medieval to modern times.

Enjoy the views and the deep, deep history!

Details: Fiesole can be reached easily by taxi from the historic center of Florence. Private Access Journeys offers beautiful apartments in the center of Florence, and our local Experience Coordinator in Florence can arrange a private driver or taxi for the trip.

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