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Fiesolian Fun

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

There’s a small hill town just north of Florence, Italy.

It’s been there, on and off, since Etruscan times, around 700 BC—long before the Romans founded their colony of Florentia down on the Arno.

Not too long ago, we went there on a day trip from Florence and were happy visitors to this relaxed, pleasant community. At least three things recommend Fiesole besides the serene break from Florentine crowds: the great view of Florence and the Arno plain, the lovely archaeological park, and Brunelleschi’s restored Madonna of Fiesole in the Bandini Museum.

Rome took over here from the Etruscans around 90 BC. And, the small town, with it’s own temples, baths and theater thrived for 400 years. In the Dark Ages, it was a ghost town, fallen to ruin. Some plucky folks resettled before 1000 AD, but Florence crushed them in 1125 as it expanded power through the region. No town to speak of surrounded the cathedral and monastery until the 1900s.

Today, Fiesole is an attractive, upscale suburb of the great city down below. There’s no train station, and the bus takes 45 minutes. Judging from what we experienced, that’s a good thing.

The archaeological area is among the most park-like of any we’ve visited. Moreso even than Ostia Antica, but much, much smaller. It’s easy to take in; under an hour will be plenty for most folks, with another 20 minutes at the small museum on site. And, there’s a modern, glass-walled restaurant overlooking the ruins with decent food. And air-conditioning.

If you have time for a day trip when you next visit Florence, treat yourself and take the inexpensive bus ride up to Fiesole. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

  1. December 10, 2011 at 9:32 am

    As always, your photos are spectacular!

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