The tour of Fiesole is ideal to join your interest for history and art with the tranquilly of a hill town, only 20 minutes from Florence. A visit of Fiesole is a perfect tour of the countryside of Tuscany, hilly landscape, the skyline defined by the cypress trees, beautiful villas all over. This is a tour for the ones who have been already to Florence and wish to discover something different yet close, which doesn’t requite a private van. Forget about the big crowds lining up at Accademia Gallery. Enjoy the silence of Fiesole! Another of the good things of Fiesole is that it’s practically attached to Florence. You don’t really have to worry about transportation. We get to the main square (Piazza Mino da Fiesole) by public bus in less than half hour. Enjoy a marvelous view of the hills surrounding Florence on the way up, a switch back after the other. Test your Italian skills and interact with the man of the kiosk to buy the bus tickets! Believe me, you will love this tour!
In the IV century, Fiesole was one of the biggest cities of Etruria, much earlier than the Romans conquered Italy. It was gradually absorbed by the Romans who highly considered the Etruscan civilization because of its refined culture and developed economy. Accordingly, Fiesole is traditionally considered the “mother of Florence”. Thanks to its richness and importance, Fiesole was defeated by Florence in 1125. It became the favorite place of the rich Florentine families (like the Medici) for building country villas. From the end of the XVIII century, Fiesole became one of the preferred places in Italy for foreign nobles. They bought here huge mansions with big amazing gardens. Fiesole was the shelter for poets and artists, who were inspired by its beauty. Among them the Renaissance artists Beato Angelico and Mino da Fiesole, and in the XX century, the painter Arnold Böcklin, the English collector Sir John Temple Leader, and the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
We will start our tour of Fiesole from the Fiesole archaeological area: first of all, the Etruscan temple and walls, the Roman baths and the Roman theatre. Therefore, we will visit the Cathedral of San Romolo. We will end our visit on the romantic hill of San Francesco, where we can enjoy a breath-taking view of Florence and have a look at the convent and the little Franciscans diocesan museum where pieces from ancient missions are exhibited (even Egyptian mummies!). During the tour, a stop at local pasticceria Alcedo is a must-do. After having tried the torta della nonna (soft shortcrust pastry filled with thick custard) your concept of Heaven will definitely change. Finalized the tour, I suggest you have lunch or dinner in one of the delicious typical restaurants in Fiesole or to go down to Fattoria di Maiano, to enjoy even more your day in an organic farmhouse.