Fiesole is a short ride from Florence on bus No. 7. The town is small and quaint and there is an archeological museum there, that is worth a visit. The museum is located at via Portigiani, 1. When you get off the bus, cross the large piazza and go to the street behind the terraced restaurants, and you will find the entrance to the museum. The hours in the summer are 9:30-7 and they close at 5 in the winter. They are closed on Tuesdays, which makes this a nice option for Monday if you are visiting Florence, because many of the state museums are closed.
The Etruscan site dates back to the 7th century B.C. and the first documentation of its history was when the Romans conquered it in the 2nd century B.C. Fiesole was important and a key location because there was dry land there high above the marshy area of the Arno, and you could see enemies approaching from miles around. The gorgeous views add a lot to the incredible site. There are the remains of Roman baths and spas, and a fairly well preserved amphitheater where concerts are held in the summer.
There is a small museum on the grounds, Antiquarium Constantini holding over 150 pieces of ceramics of ancient Greece and Etruria. There is also a bar and cafe where you can enjoy a drink from the terrace outside.
After visiting the site, head up the hill past the Duomo to the monastery of San Francesco, for even more incredible views.
I visited Fiesole again one Spring afternoon to enjoy a bottle of wine at the overlook high above Florence. Fiesole is a 20 minute bus ride away and is on the opposite side of the city from the Piazzale Michelangelo. Because of the altitude, make sure to go on a clear day because the haze and pollution from Florence can obscure the view pretty quickly.
Fiesole has a lovely piazza in the middle of the town flanked by a community center, some outdoor cafes, and the Duomo. The Duomo is not much to look at inside or out, but the monastery and museum at the top of the hill along with the view is worth the climb. There is also a large museum of Roman ruins there which is phenomenal. Don’t miss it. (More on that later!)
Spring has come to Florence! Of course the calendar marks it, and the spring winds are blowing, the temperatures rising, and the students have descended upon the city. Everywhere you can see spring flowers, the terraces opening, people picnicking in the piazzas and parks, and taking in the warm Spring sun. I have my Spring herbs planted in my window garden.
The days are getting longer, but the clock doesn’t change until March 27th. Already it is after 6:30 before the sun is down! Time for a trip to the Boboli Gardens!
It’s a wonderful time of year in Florence, but aren’t they all. I am on the look out for all the Spring produce…strawberries, asparagus,artichokes, raddichio, peas, fava beans, and carrots!