The scenic view
It´s the scenic view you get over Florence. It´s very romantic. Many people are coming up for a nice picnic when the sun is going down.... Your love next to you and a lovely bottle of red wine with the romantic view over Florence ...What else do you need? The restaurants up here have been great....
I didn't have time to do much, and it was chilly and windy. But I did (inadvertantly) wander down a very pretty lane and I suspect there are many more equally pretty around Fiesole. Ideal for a warm, sunny day with a picnic lunch..............plenty of spots to sit and ponder the view.
Fiesole: The Perfect Getaway
Fiesole is a charming little town located about 8 km away from Florence. Early one afternoon, after having spent a few hours walking around Florence, we decided to follow the advice VTer leics had given me and we took a bus to Fiesole. As we started making our way up the hill towards the village, we were immediately greeted by magnificent views and I could only imagine what it would be like once we got to the top of the hill - and I was not disappointed! Florence looks amazing seen from the hills of Fiesole, as does the surrounding countryside. But there's more to do in Fiesole than just admire the view: this Etruscan village dating back to the 9th century B.C. is home to a great archeological museum, a cathedral, a monastery, several little churches, a few really nice parks and a lovely piazza. It truly is the perfect little getaway!
Lots of history
"A bit of this and a bit of that"
Fiesole flaunts its history. Some lay extravagant claims to what the town and the area holds. That, in fact, was why I decided to spend some time there on my second trip, unlike previously when I drove through the place every day for three days while I tried to see some of Florence.
There is a broad spectrum of civilization here but, for me, there's not a lot of it. I had seen far superior Etruscan stuff at Sovana and Volterra, much better Roman stuff in Naples, Ostia Antica, Ephesus and Rome itself. I will say one thing though; the small well laid out museum had some top drawer pottery from the Hellenistic period, as good as any I've seen in the British Museum, Greece or southern Italy.
This one had the title "Lekythos" on it and appears to have common scenes depicted. A lekythos is a form of ancient Greek pottery. Specifically, this pottery is cylindrical in form with one vertical handle, attached to a slender neck, with a slightly wider mouth at the top. Lekythoi were thought to be used primarily as religious or decorative objects. In particular, lekythoi were used to hold oil or perfume, most commonly during religious ceremonies. Funerary rituals would be one such religious ritual for which the lekythos would be used. This claim is substantiated by the fact that lekythoi have been found in and around tombs and excavated from ancient homes. It can be hypothesized that this type of usage is partially because of the decorative style of painting on lekythoi. The subject matter of lekythoi usually deals with common daily activities or rituals. This means that lekythoi often depict scenes pertaining to an individual's daily existence; some of the activities shown may be mundane tasks. Other lekythoi may illustrate funerary rites or a scene of loss or a sense of departure. The figures found on lekythoi are often outline drawings that are somber in appearance and generally lack emotion. These interpretations lend themselves to the belief that lekythoi may have been used in funerary capacities or as a decoration.
As for churches and piazzas around Fiesole, at best they are average. If I was recommending the town to anyone, I'd suggest you go there before you go elsewhere.
I also have a memory of driving through Fiesole. The road narrows, a bus comes from the other direction, there's a car parked on the other side. Instead of severe braking I decide to chance my arm (and the car body) and go for the gap, albeit at low speed. I'm that close to the parked car my side mirror gets folded back and how the bus missed the other side is a mystery. Don't you just love driving in Italy?
Museum Bits & Pieces
There was a special exhibition in the museum when I went, so there were additional Etruscan and Roman artefacts which had been found in the area. Some good things, well-presented.
The site was used as a cemetery in the 7th century, for the Longobards (of whom I had never heard). They were big people, with very big toes (apparently), who wore flowing clothes and invaded the Italian peninsula from the north. This grave (with grave goods, including a beautiful blue glass .... bottom left) is reconstructed within the museum.
This marble torso is only about 60cm high. Picture is bit blurry, but torso was beautiful (and had all its bits, whereas many others had been made 'presentable', sadly).