Welcome to Fiesole, the “mother of Florence“. This is how the Florentine people think about Fiesole. It would have been impossible to have Florence where it is laying now without the Etruscans living up in this beautiful little village nested between 2 hill peaks. Fiesole & Florence hills are the best places to visit to say I understood tuscany. https://www.outoftheboxflorence.com/2020/08/10/trekking-in-tuscany/
Here today we talk about Fiesole and the Florence hills. If you come to visit Florence you can’t miss Fiesole, its museum and its Roman amphitheater. A stunning place, with great Roman and Etruscan ruins of the ancient settlement.
Easily reached by city bus #7 or by taxi, one can travel to Fiesole in less than 20 mins and visit the Franciscan monastery set on the highest point of the village. Many visitors have heard of Florence’s Michelangelo Square and its beautiful view of Florence, but it is a very busy and congested viewing point. If you’re looking for a more intimate, stunning, historical and higher point of view of the city you must check out the view from the Franciscan monastery and then descend to the village’s main square full of cafes and restaurants for a great meal and some relaxing drinks.
I have always loved even the view going up along the road that takes you to Fiesole, giving you a great perspective of the valley and Florence itself.
For those looking for a great walk, easy going as it is all downhill, from Fiesole you have the greatest chance ever. From the monastery, following the red and white trail markers on the walls you are able to reach Florence, passing through both posh and common neighborhoods. As you descend, don’t forget the incredible views you have upon the Duomo and the feeling you get closer and closer to the city.
During the early part of the journey, you walk by beautiful villas and a lovely, secluded university campus. You’ll pass by Lorenzo de Medici’s villa and many others before you reach San Domenico https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convent_of_San_Domenico,_Fiesole and from there I recommend you aim for the “Le Cure” neighborhood. Basically, it is a steep downhill on the left of the fountain of San Domenico. Having reached Le Cure you can spend some time there, in one of my favorite neighborhoods of Florence. Bars, restaurants and local places are everywhere, especially around the main roundabout before heading to Piazza della Liberta with its big arch. Walk along Via San Gallo to arrive in San Lorenzo and then the Duomo. All in all, it could take approximately an hour and a half.
Don’t forget to stop by the Alimentari in San Domenico for a great glimpse of local life and try some authentic schiacciata/focaccia and not those touristic ones in city center for which you often have to wait in line.
Fiesole’s heart and main hub are in the big bus square but for those of you that are looking for something more adventurous, unique and above all, authentic you can look for the “Casa del Popolo“ in Fiesole. Cheap drinks, stunning views and local people, young and old. The Casa del Popolo is a “Circolo Arci“, which are community gathering places created by the left wing party in Italy in the 1970s. They are great cultural places to support small young business that is not profit oriented.
If you are visiting with kids, make your way up the hill from the town hall (Comune), heading east. Take the steep and narrow road on the right side of the town hall and walk up towards one of the most beautiful playgrounds in Florence. A large space for kids to run around, some old play structures, fresh fountain water and a beautiful view of Florence.