Fascinating Fiesole, Italy
We had planned for Florence in our itinerary as a place not to miss, given its claim to fame as the birthplace of the Renaissance. But what came literally as a pleasant and ethereal whiff of fresh air was our visit to Fiesole, a small scenic town situated at an elevation of a little under 1000 feet above Florence and affording some breathtaking views.
As our bus traversed the beautifully laid out streets of Florence and we marveled at the architectural genius of the City’s founding fathers, we found ourselves gently ascending the slopes that would lead us to Fiesole. The view from either side was a feast to the eyes and we were enthralled by the sheer beauty of nature blending gently with the trappings of modern advancement.
Soon we were in Fiesole, a town and commune of the province of Florence in the Italian region of Tuscany. It is situated about 5 miles from Florence city and surely a shining and radiant gem in the crown of Italy, Florence.
While in Fiesole do not miss on the following must-do things:
1. A visit to the Archaeological area of Fiesole
This is a fascinating site that one should not miss, it is a virtual treasure trove for those who love Roman History. The site includes remains from Roman and Etruscan history, dating back to 4th Century AD.
Towards the north of the site is situated what remains of an early Etruscan temple, dating back to 4th Century AD. Based on reconstruction by archaeologists it is figured that the surviving walls once enclosed a rectangular temple with a flight of steps that led down to the Altar.
The Etruscan Walls
The walls which again date back to 4th Century AD were built as a defense against Gallic invasions. The walls stretch for about 2.5 Kilometers across the city.
The Etruscan Tombs
These are situated outside the city walls and date back to the 3rd Century BC. The tombs were built using large blocks of stone. There are a total of six tombs which have been discovered in the site.
The Roman Theater
There is a wonderful amphitheater, surprisingly well preserved. It is indeed remarkable, that the early Roman builders have utilized a natural rock face of a hill to carve out the theater. The theater dates back to the 1st Century BC. Today only the foundations of the stage area survive, but one can still make out that there were three doors through which the performers would enter the stage.
The Roman Baths
These Baths are designed as per typical Roman style with three small pools and a tepidarium or heated room.
2. Bandini Museum
The combo ticked for the Roman ruins includes entry to this museum also, this is a small but interesting and well maintained museum which houses paintings and sculptures of various Italian artists, but primarily the works of Luca Della Robia a noted stone sculptor, but more famous for his glazed terracotta roundels.
3. Piazzale Michelangelo
But for us the jewel in the crown was undoubtedly Piazzale Michelangelo, which we visited on our way down to Florence from Fiesole. The Piazzale Michelangelo is a square built on a terrace affording a panoramic and clear view of Florence. The square is dedicated to the most famous son of Florence, Michael Angelo, and has bronze copies of some of his most famous marble works including the awe inspiring David. The Piazzale was designed by architect Guiseppe Pogi and built in 1869.
The Piazzale Michelangelo can be accessed by car along the tree-lined Viale Michelangelo, constructed at the same time, or by walking the stairs or going up the ramps from the Piazza Giuseppe Poggi, also known as the “Poggi Ramps” in the district of San Niccolò.
Our heads reeling under the intoxicating beauty of this charming city, we drove down to Florence, our eyes trying to capture the beauty of Fiesole and store it for eternity.
Italy has various romantic and historical travel destinations. Click here to check out Italy Travel Guide which covers Florence, Rome and Venice.