Sometimes something wonderful is just around the corner… or a 15 minute bus ride away. Fiesole, in the hills of Florence, is an amazing way to spend a day if you’re in the area longer than a few hours, but in the three months that I lived in Florence the last time I was here, I never made it up there. I never even knew it was there, or how interesting it was, which is why I wanted to share it with all of you.
It’s very easy to reach Fiesole, which is located in the hills of Florence. The easiest way to get there is to grab a bus that terminates in Fiesole; there are several that leave from Piazza San Marco. As a sidenote: taking the bus is quite easy, but purchase tickets from a tabacchi beforehand (shops and cafes have a black sign with a T if they are a tabacchi– this is also where you have to buy matches) and you will save yourself a euro or two. You can buy a 10-pack of tickets that will save you 20 euro-cents per ticket if you plan to ride the bus a lot, but it’s unnecessary to in Florence so I typically just buy them when I need them. Another note: in some areas of Italy, people choose not to pay for the bus. You have to stamp your ticket when you get on or it isn’t valid, and just Sunday I rode the bus in the direction of Fiesole and someone checked us for tickets, so ride without at your own discretion. ATAF has a website with timetables for buses and you can also check the pickup times at the bus stop– just remember that it’s Italy, so it might not be exact!
When you get to Fiesole, depending on where the bus drops you your experience may be slightly different than mine but we had only a short walk to reach the entrance of the ancient ruins that are what make Fiesole worth a visit. When you walk in, this is the first view that you have:
The city has an Etruscan past and was conquered by the Romans. It has a fascinating set of ruins that can easily be seen in a few hours. I was lucky enough to travel with our history professor who shared with us information about the city’s past as we explored, but if you’re not so lucky do some reading online about the city before you go.
A fun experiment is to have a friend go to the bottom of the amphitheater while you stand or sit at the top and speak normally. The acoustics are still just as effective as when they were designed–you will have no problem hearing them!
There are also ruins of an ancient temple on the site. The above photo is me attempting to capture them using a panoramic app on my phone. Modern technology, huh?
The view of the hills of Tuscany was incredible. For anyone looking to get away from some of the tourists in Florence or who has a couple extra days to explore the area, Fiesole is an easy day (or even half-day) trip to see a bit of ancient Roman history in the Tuscan hills.