Summers are hot, outdoor swimming pools are expensive and dirty (I remember reading a newspaper review where the number of people confessing to peeing in them was unholy). You can go to Campomigliaio, and swim under the bridge, or into the Apennini north of the Mugello (some famous waterfalls at Acquachetta, i also tried one or two other places on the Forli train line), but that is far. This is a pool of the Mugnone just off the Vecchia Fiesolana. Only suitable to swim in May and June, thereafter there is too little water and it slowly dries out until the autumn rains.
James Kaye's house
Beautiful location just off the small road between Settignano and Compiobbi. Actually, it was easiest to roll all the way down from from the Castel di Poggio bifurcation, past Montebeni and the canile, through the pine forest, out again into the fields, and then down the dirt track on the left.
James lived like an ascetic, I remember being shocked at the beaten down state of the leather shoes he wore, he grew his own 'orto', and lived in a small annex to an apartment run by a sympathetic middle-aged woman landlady.
Here is a photograph in his post-humous exhibition at the Badia.
A useful tip:
Just inside the entrance to the Museo Archaeologico is a cafe and, on the left before you get to the cafe, there are free toilets (clean when I've visited). You don't need to buy a ticket for the museum to use either facility.
Very useful to know this, I think, as I spotted no other public toilets in Fiesole.
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Via Vecchia Fiesolana
A beautiful (if steep) walk down to San Domenico and then on to Florence. On the way, episcopal summer palaces with high walled gardens, and .. parked outside... the latest in Alfa Romeo style, the Brera.
One of the country houses - effectively an old farm - where we as students used to live in. This one was in the most beautiful setting, but had no heating. Slawek from Poland survived an entire winter here, cutting firewood with an axe, and finding it hard to get the room termperature above 14 degrees. The whole place was marked by the peasants living next door. You can see their `colombe' (doves), which they kept in a dovecot (`colombaia'), in one of the photos here, scratching around on the floor.
It's been changed since those days (photos from June 1997), no more rickety old fence, the exterior has been painted.
The Roman/ Etruscan site is not particularly well-signed (and the guide is not very detailed). Make sure you see the (reconstructed) hypocaust in the baths. This efficient form of underfloor heating was much-used across the Roman empire (and particularly useful in the UK, I should think). Fires were lit outside the building and the warm air channelled underneath (and, in many case, up the walls as well, using a system of flue tiles). Very efficient, assuming you had capable servants in charge of the fires. As a Roman bath-house usually had both warm and hot rooms, a good hypocaust system was a necessity.
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