On our last full day in Florence we did what wealthy Florentines have done for centuries – escaped to the hills above the city. Being wowed by Fiesole on our last Florence trip I definitely wanted to revisit the one-time rural retreat of the Medicis – interesting and so beautiful, the best place to spend a quiet sunny morning.
We took the bus, left the city and wound our way slowly through the hills and into the countryside. Everywhere became more lush and more green with lots of cypress trees and winding roads. The scenery en route and the setting of Fiesole are just gorgeous. Once a bustling Etruscan settlement and then a Roman town, this place was the equal of Florence until the Medieval era. During the Rennaissance the Medicis used it as their bolt hole of choice and built sumptuous villas on the hillside.
Today it is peaceful, quiet and quite a change from the hustle and bustle of the city down below. A bit cooler – we noticed with gratitude the effects of the cooling breeze. Fiesole is a bit of a movie star too – the walk from Florence up here earned a scene in A Room With A View.
We got off the bus in the little square and tackled the first of the Fiesole hills – no end of these. We hiked up a pedestrianised and steep street, got to see the Etruscan walls and found a terrace with a spectacular panoramic view over the hills and down to the city below.
A peek in the little church, a walk in the woods before we made our way back to the main square again for pizza at a little pavement cafe. Fiesole is just perfect – a great break from the big city and a lovely taste of small-town Italy.