Tucked into the hills surrounding Florence is the small town of Fiesole.
Fiesole is for the seasoned Florence traveler, who isn’t just passing through for a couple of days, but spending a good amount time getting to intimately know the city. It’s a nice change of pace from the center of Florence, which is always bustling with tourists and travelers. Diana and I went with little to no expectations of what Fiesole would be like. All we knew, was that we had heard great things about it and it was time to give it a visit!
Easily accessible from Piazza San Marco, simply take the number 7 bus from San Marco to Piazza Mino da Fiesole. It’s about a 20 minute bus ride, but it’s 100% worth it to get outside of the city. On the ride up the hill, you’ll see amazing views of the landscape and get a peak into the lives of the suburban towns that surround the historic center.
When we arrived, we were immediately in awe of the views of Florence. I was ecstatic and bubbling with excitement to have found a completely new viewpoint to look at my city with. You could see the towering Duomo, all of it’s surrounding metropolitan area, and all of the gorgeous valley. Without a map, we investigated around the Piazza and tried to find the entrance to the Etruscan and Roman ruins we had heard about.
In less than a few minutes we found the Archaeological site and with a quick purchase of a ticket, we wandered in and was overcome with the desire to start exploring the site.
We were like kids in a candy store or better yet, a playground….
Once we saw the Roman amphitheater, we both excitedly took out our cameras, parted ways, and explored the wonders of the ruins. Bounding from rock to rock, I snapped away, speculating about what some of the formations could have previously been. We found stairs, arches, rooms, pools, baths, and stunning countryside views of Tuscany. It was just what I was looking for. I love Florence, but I might actually love getting out into the countryside more. It’s stunning.
Like how amazing!? Exploring the ruins with the hills of Tuscany in the background.
We took our time outside and even stopped into the archeological museum, Musei Di Fiesole, on the way out. If you thought there was a lot to see on the grounds, the museum was so much more. With only 20% of the land even excavated for research, the museum had rooms and rooms filled with ancient items and even tombs! It wasn’t crowded or chaotic, which really made us feel that we had discovered an amazing little secret.
I highly recommend a visit here if you have the time. (It took me 3 trips to Florence to finally give it some attention and wish I had given it a chance earlier.)
Starving, we left the ruins to find a good lunch spot and on the way we stumbled upon the most magnificent look out area along Via S. Francesco. Out of breath, hot, and ready to eat, we took a detour to check out the little park with panoramic views.
We ended up forgetting that we were starving for a little while and took our time gazing at the view. Finally, we stopped in to Ristorante La Reggia degli Etruschi, that is situated at the end of Via S. Francesco. Simply put, it was a lovely experience. The food was exquisite, fresh, and unique. I enjoyed a plate of zucchini ravioli with eggplant, pecorino cheese, and cherry tomatoes, while Diana savored some risotto with porcini mushrooms and pecorino cheese. With the sun shining and the warm breeze blowing onto the patio, we toasted to another beautiful day in Italy.
We finished out the excursion with a stroll around the small town, admiring little shops, the Cattedrale di San Romolo, and the Convento di San Francesco. Fiesole combined history, fascinating ruins, spectacular views of the city and country, and amzing food, so it’s safe to say it was a hit. What a day.