Fiesole Things to Do

  • Florence from afar
    Florence from afar
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    So many shades of Spring green
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    Wisteria in its full glory
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Most Recent Things to Do in Fiesole

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    Just wander the lanes

    by leics Written Apr 25, 2011

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    Lovely view, with wisteria
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    Fiesole is very pretty, with lots of very well-kept-up houses and gardens.

    And there are lots of lovely views as well, over Florence and the surrounding hills.

    From the main square you can follow the brown-signed 'Via Panoramico' and then just wander at will. As my friend kept pointing out when I was flagging from the heat, dehydration and lack of toilet facilities 'You can't get lost!'.

    It is a lovely place, and by exploring outside its centre you'll get away from most of the visitors who tend to stay in and around the main square and Archaeological Museum.

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    Monastery of San Francesco

    by swissfondue Updated Aug 5, 2010

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    This simple but beautiful monastery perched on a hill overloking Fiesole was home to Franciscan monks dating back to the 15th century.

    The monks living quarters (or cells) are particularly interesting and open to the public along with the church and museum which contains facinting Etruscan and Roman artifacts.

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    Sant'Alessandro Basilica & San Francesco Monastery

    by Jefie Updated Jul 6, 2010

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    One of the monks' rooms in the monastery
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    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.

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    Climb up Via di San Francesco for a fantastic view

    by Jefie Updated Jul 2, 2010

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    The Tuscan hills surrounding Florence
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    From Piazza Mino, if you walk past the duomo you'll reach Via di San Francesco, a little street that goes up a fairly steep hill. It's time to put on those walking shoes because the view at the top of the street is simply amazing! You'll eventually see a little park on your left that offers many different vantage point of views. It's also a very romantic spot - we even saw a couple getting their wedding pictures taken there (how the bride managed to get up there in her high heels I'll never understand, it must be some sort of special Italian skill!).

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    Piazza Mino, Fiesole's main piazza

    by Jefie Updated Jul 2, 2010

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    It might be surprising at first to see such a big piazza at the heart of a small town like Fiesole, but when we think about the fact that Fiesole is much older than Florence and that it once was as big and powerful as the capital of Tuscany, it all starts making more sense. As it often is the case, Piazza Mino (named after the Italian sculptor Mino da Fiesole) now stands where the Roman forum used to be. At its centre there is a nice bronze statue of Victor Emmanuel II and Giuseppe Garibaldi called "Incontro di Teano" (or "The Handshake of Teano"), which commemorates the famous meeting of the two men in October 1860, when Garibaldi greeted his new king and thus contributed to the restitution of monarchy in Italy. On top of the charming cafes and restaurants located all around the piazza, it's also possible to see Fiesole's City Hall and the lovely church of Santa Maria Primerana, which probably dates back to the 9th century (admission is free).

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    Il Duomo di Fiesole

    by Jefie Updated Jul 2, 2010

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    The main altar of Fiesole's duomo
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    The Cathedral of Fiesole dates back to 1028, although it was extensively restored during the 17th century. Dedicated to St. Romulus, the patron saint and first bishop of Fiesole, the cathedral houses the remains of the Christian martyr in its crypt. Although it's not as lavishly decorated as some of the churches in Florence, Fiesole's Romanesque cathedral is still home to some interesting works of art, including some by local painters. For example, Nicodemo Ferrucci (born in Fiesole in 1574) painted the "Stories of St. Romulus" fresco that decorates the cathedral's dome above the main altar. Some of Mino da Fiesole's early works can also be found in the cathedral. The campanile, which dominates the main piazza, was completed in 1213.

    Admission is free.

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Fiesole's archaeological museum

    by Jefie Updated Jul 2, 2010

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    Ruins of the Roman baths and Lombard necropolis
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    The archaeological museum in Fiesole includes an indoor and an outdoor section. Inside the museum, it's possible to see several objects that were found in and around Fiesole, some of them dating back to prehistoric times, but for the most part the different objects reflect the history of the town, which was founded around the 9th century B.C. Fiesole's past is revealed to visitors through a succession of Etruscan, Roman and Lombard artefacts.

    The most interesting part of the museum, however, is the one described as the archeological zone. In this outdoor area, visitors are free to explore ruins from the three most important periods that have marked the history of Fiesole up until the Middle Ages. The Roman period is well represented by the Roman theatre that can sit about 3,000 people, the remnants of an old road, and the ruins of a temple, an altar and Roman baths, all dating back to the 1st and 2nd century A.D. In the same area it's also possible to see the ruins of an Etruscan temple and altar, possibly dating back to the 4th century B.C. Finally, in the same area as the Roman baths, we find the remnants of a 7th century Lombard necropolis (many of the funerary objects found in this necropolis are on display inside the museum).

    And last but not least, although it's not technically part of the museum, it's still worth mentioning the amazing view of the hilly countryside, especially from the top of the Roman theatre. At 10 Euros, admission is not exactly cheap, but given everything there is to see, I thought it was worth it.

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    Roman architecture #1

    by egonwegh Updated Jun 26, 2007

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    Fiesole, the Roman excavations

    Entrance to the site of the Roman and Etruscan excavations. Be advised that a family with two young children pays only 20 euro, whereas two adults without children don't count as a family and therefore have to pay 26 euro - so be sure to bring some children with you, if you can find any!

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    Visit the church of San Romolo

    by egonwegh Written Jun 26, 2007

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    Fiesole, San Romolo, the nave of the church

    This is a very interesting building, not very large when compared to nearby churches in Florence, but full of dark corners and unexpected sculptures and paintings that are yours to discover. See separate travelogue.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Visit the Etruscan/Roman ruins.

    by leics Updated Apr 22, 2006

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    Teatro Romano

    Fiesole was more important than Florence in ancient times, and the ruins are well-preserved. There's a theatre, baths and a Roman temple enclosing an earlier (prehistoric) Etruscan one. The site is very pleasant, with a superb view over the valley beneath.

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    Then visit the museum.

    by leics Written Apr 22, 2006

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    7th century Longobard grave

    Very well-presented, with lots of Etruscan/Roman artefacts as well as other things. Your admission pays for the museum and the ruins, so you might as well visit both. There's a cafe and toilets on site.

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    Walk by the Etruscan Wall

    by LauraWest Written Jul 10, 2005

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    ancient stone wall

    You can walk along this tall, impressive stone wall built by the Etruscans without charge. You'll pass a parking area for your car & there's a bench to sit on under sturdy old trees. Or you can pay a fee & see it from inside the sight. There's the roman amphitheater here, too & a museum.

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    Outdoor Market

    by tigerjapan Written Jan 14, 2005

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    Street Performer In Fiesole

    Fiesole is a quaint little town perched on the hills just outside of Florence. We went on a weekend and there was a wonderful little street market where local goods were being sold. Had some great bread and other goodies and tried locally produced wines etc. Also got a bottle of fantastic olive oil and some other great food stuffs to bring back to Japan with me.
    The market was small and very local. i don't know if it runs every weekend, but it's well-worth looking into if you are going to be in Florence on a weekend.

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    View from the top

    by iandsmith Written May 28, 2004

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    All this and food to boot.

    One of the things you should budget for your time is to sit and sup overlooking the plains of Florence.
    I can tell you I eyed off with envy the people in the Blu Bar at the Ristorante Aurora on the Piazza Mino da Fiesole.
    The lovely garden atmosphere and the expansive vista was oooooh so tempting. Alas, time did not allow but I can tell you those that were there didn't look too stressed.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Every picture tells a story.......

    by iandsmith Written May 27, 2004
    Who needs parking space when you've got this?

    ...........but not necessarily all of it!
    Love those little electric cars. Had to get a picture. So I pulled up down the road aways and returned with my camera in hand.
    There was a street urchin begging cars for money and I gave him a wide berth. He wasn't about to ignore me.
    He summed up what I was trying to do and raced over to stand in the way, demanding money. If I moved the camera he would put his hand in front immediately.
    This scenario carried on for a couple of minutes until I worked out a scheme. No more "Mr. Nice Guy".
    I turned away and walked a fair way back, feigning disinterest but knowing full well he would be watching. So it was that when I turned and made to take a snap he raced up again but I was waiting; grabbed his arm, flung him behind me and cranked off the shot just before he came around the front again.
    Strike one for the tourists!
    He didn't believe I'd taken the shot and hounded me all the way back to the intersection. Unlucky.

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