As these are neither signed nor mentioned in the guide, I feel it is up to me to point out that the Roman bath-house had appropriate toilet facilities. Although shared, they had a system of running water which ensured that they 'flushed' continually. the narrow channel in front of where the bench (with suitable holes, obviously) would have been is for cleaning one's 'sponge-on-a-stick' in more running water. The spoge was using for cleaning oneself. Shared sponges would have been kept in water, in containers placed on the stone bench you can see in the photo.
Sant'Alessandro Basilica & San Francesco Monastery
Once you reach the top of Via di San Francesco, you'll see the Sant'Alessandro Basilica. Although there is no official record mentioning when this church was built, it's estimated that Sant'Alessandro dates back to the 6th century. During recent restoration works, Etruscan, Roman and Lombard relics were found around the church and there is some evidence showing that the pillars inside the church are in fact columns taken from an ancient Roman temple.
If you keep going up the hill past Sant'Alessandro, you'll reach the little church of San Francesco. The church and its monastery were built at the beginning of the 10th century. There is now a small museum in the cloisters that presents different articles the Franciscan monks brought back to Fiesole from their different missions around the world. It's also possible to visit the monks' tiny rooms in the monastery. Once you're done, you can get back to Piazza Mino by walking through the monastery's charming little park.
25 May 2007: Fiesole (Roman Faesulae), up in the hills near Florence. Great Roman and Etruscan architecture plus an impressive church. This is the Roman amphitheatre overlooking the hills, it is said that 3,000 persons could be seated here.
"Fiesole, a sweet taste of Tuscany ..."
Fiesole is a small village very close from Florence. If you stay in Florence, spend some hours in this some city (around 15 000 people they say in my guide). But it really looks like a village. Take the bus n°7 from the central station (on the rigth, under ther the trees), it costs only 2 euros for a nice walk, 15mn by bus and it's only at 8km from the center of Florence.
This is really the best place for a wonderful view a Flroence and the valley.
This city is on the top of a small hill. On the of the other side of this one, you can see a nice landscape of Tuscany.
"Friday, Nov 21... Firenze - Fiesole"
One of my roommates, Christie, and I went to a small hillside town called Fiesole today. We took a city bus through Florence, and over to town. It was only 30 minutes away, and just 2 euros for a round trip ticket! A few of my roommates in Venice highly recommended going there, and it was listed as a 'daytrip' from Florence in my guidebook so we figured we didn't have much to lose!!
It was a really nice little town. We walked up to the top of the hill where there was a nice look-out terraced area with some olive trees growing right there! There was a great view of the city of Florence (we could even see the big red Duomo!), along with some of the Tuscany mountainside. It was really beautiful! As an added bonus, I made friends with a local cat! I did not realize how long it had been since I had seen or petted a friendly feline. So cute! I wanted to take her home... but decided that the language barrier might be a problem.
Not a lot to do, other than the usual wander around (my favorite). They did have some roman ruins and ampitheater, but both of us are going to Roma, so we figured we would save our 8 euro and just see the real deal in rome! My roommate went ahead and took off to see the leaning tower of pisa, and I stayed in Fiesole for a few more hours. I stopped by the grocery store and bought some baguettes, and some really yummy fixins from the deli (olives, eggplant slice, roasted red pepper, artichoke, slice of cheese) to make a sandwich, then stopped by a bakery for some extras (wee bottle of chilled white wine, and a few shortbread cookies). Then I hiked back up to the top of the hill and sat on the stone wall and had a really excellent picnic lunch while checking out the great view! And there were no pigeons trying to take off with my food, either!
Of course, by then it was time to wander... so I wandered over to the other side of town, and saw some more great panaromic views of the countryside. I really liked Fiesole. It was really charming and quiet, and the people seemed... real... for lack of a better word. It was a really great way to spend the afternoon!
Hope everyone is doing well at home! Tomorrow I will be in Rome! So far, I plan on staying for 3 nights (might be extended to 4 nights though). I will try to write again soon!
The Italians really do say "mama mia"! I have heard it several times in conversations on the train and just around the city!
The other night a roommate and I were talking about how it is hard to remember people's names unless you can associate their name with someone or something else you already know. She said she will probably remember my name because she knows an A. back home who looks just like me. Then she said that she keeps saying to herself "gosh, she looks so much like A .S.!" when she looks at me.... I said "What?!!! nu UH!" So I told her that was MY name TOO and we had a great time laughing about that! So, I have a 23 year old Canadian girl who is my 'twin', and even has my first AND last name... How wierd is that!