As a Creative Writing student in the city below, I was incredibly lucky to have a tutor who would whisk me away to the hills of Fiesole to write for an afternoon. It was an almost magical experience, and some of my best creative work came from watching the sunset over Florence while I sipped wine and inhaled the surprisingly welcome combination of cigars, fresh bread, summer flowers, and balsamic vinaigrette.
The city was most likely founded as early as 9th century BC, and it's easy to feel transported to an earlier time when treading along the town's antique stone streets. Fiesole has a fascinating history, made more impressive when realizing how the large city below was for many years equal in power despite the population difference. Fiesole's interactions with Florence are recorded in numerous works you possibly read Sparknotes for back in English 101 (i.e. Dante's Divine Comedy); and, although there is no longer great writing inspired by wars between the two, it's still more than likely you'll find someone furiously writing in reaction to the moving landscape.
Although Tuscany is dotted with ancient towns, most complete with remnants of Roman stonework, Fiesole is ideal for those spending a vacation primarily in Florence. The proximity offers visitors to Florence a chance to taste "ancient Tuscany" without backpacking too far into the hills. In the city, it's often hard to truly transport yourself to see the area the way the Romans did; in Fiesole, this isn't a problem. The sights in Fiesole are eerily still intact, and there is a high chance that you will use a water fountain frequented by a Roman warrior himself. Make sure to check out:
- Etruscan walls
- Il Duomo (the cathedral of Fiesole)
- Palazzo Comunale
- Primerana Church
- Roman Baths
- San Francesco Monastery
Make sure to take a stroll along the town's streets, and check out the local market (right in the town center) for some fantastic fresh produce.
Send me a postcard!