INTRODUCING FIESOLE

Both ancient site and modern town, Fiesole promises a fascinating journey through history and a luxurious, peaceful break. Hidden high up among the Tuscan hills, it’s hard to believe the Renaissance masterpieces of Florence are less than 10km away. Yet, this small and beautifully preserved spot has its own renowned Etruscan-Roman Archaeological treasures and intriguing museums – as well as contemporary cafes and bars to enjoy at your own pace.

As prized by ancient Romans for its majestic hilltop position, as those looking for a tranquil escape today.

Things to do

HISTORY

Fiesole was once an Etruscan stronghold until the Romans breached its massive walls and conquered this important settlement in the 2nd century BC. It’s even rumoured that the shrine of St. Romulus – the first Bishop of Fiesole – is still inside the Catholic Cathedral in the main town square. Fiesole grew into a prosperous, powerful town that rivalled Florence. And by the 14th century, rich and famous Florentines were flocking here to build their garden villas surrounded by cypress trees. Today, it’s easy to see why.

LANDMARKS

Start by visiting Fiesole’s famous thermal water spa, magnificent Roman amphitheatre, baths and huge stone remnants that formed the Etruscan walls. As you gaze down over Florence from this prime hilltop location, it’s easy to imagine Leonardo da Vinci testing out (unsuccessfully) his theories of flight. While over the road from the archaeological area, stroll forwards in time to a collection of beautiful Florentine artworks at the Museo Bandini.

EVENTS

If you’re visiting Fiesole between June and August, this is when the Roman amphitheatre makes the perfect stage for the Estate Fiesolana summer events. Get yourself a ticket and look forward to a starlit evening of classical music, theatre and comedy shows.

If you’re feeling fit, you can get here on foot from Florence, climbing up the hill along narrow walled roads, passing by impressive villas, including the Villa Medici at Fiesole.

Top tip from SLH

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