Essential Fiesole Information
Things to do
Fiesole is an Etruscan-Roman town located at an altitude of 300 m above sea level and is about 9 km from Florence. Its territory consists mainly of hills and offers outstanding views of Florence and its surroundings in addition to a rich art heritage.
Fiesole (Etruscan “Viesul, Viśl, Vipsul”) was probably founded in the 9th-8th century BC, as it was an important member of the Etruscan confederacy, as may be seen from the remains of its ancient walls. The first recorded mention on the town dates to 283 BC, when the town, then known as “Faesulae”, was conquered by the Romans. In pagan antiquity it was the seat of a famous school of augurs, and every year twelve young men were sent there from Rome to study the art of divination. Sulla colonized it with veterans, who afterwards, under the leadership of Gaius Mallius, supported the cause of Catilina. Fiesole was the scene of Stilicho's great victory over the Germanic hordes of the Vandals and Suevi under Radagaisus in 406. During the Gothic War (536-53) the town was times besieged several. In 539 Justinus, the Byzantine general, captured it and destroyed its fortifications. It was an independent town for several centuries in the early Middle Ages, no less powerful than Florence in the valley below, and many wars arose between them; in 1010 and 1025 Fiesole was sacked by the Florentines, before it was conquered by Florence in 1125, and its leading families obliged to take up their residence in Florence. Dante reflects this rivalry in his Divine Comedy by referring to "the beasts of Fiesole." (Inferno XV.73). By the 14th century, rich Florentines had countryside villas in Fiesole, and one of them is the setting of the frame narrative of the Decameron. Boccaccio's poem Il Ninfale fiesolano is a mythological account of the origins of the community. Robert Browning mentions “sober pleasant Fiesole” several times in his poem "Andrea Del Sarto".
A visit to Fiesole offers not only Etruscan and Roman art, but also the paintings of the Florentine Duecento and Quattrocento, lovely Della Robbia glazed ceramics, churches, convents, villas, beautiful gardens and breath-taking views of Florence. The landscape has inspired painters, writers and poets; it has not changed greatly since the days of Leonardo da Vinci and can still enchant even the most absent-minded visitor.
Archeological site: in a large enclosed and well appointed area (35,000 sqm) you will find a Roman Theatre, a temple (part Etruscan, part Roman) and Roman baths. There is also a good Archaeological Museum. Via Portigiani, 1 – Tel. 0555961293 Weekday and Festive opening: October and March 10 -18 November-February 10 -14 April-September 10-19 Closed: December 25th
The Bandini Museum: a small but very interesting collection of Florentine painting from the Duecento to the Quattrocento and several Della Robbias. Via Dupré, 18- Tel. 0555961280 Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays: October and March 10 -18 November-February 10 -14 April-September 10- 19 Closed: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thur and December 25th
The Primo Conti Museum and Foundation: this contains aver sixty paintings and 150 drawing by one of the Italian Futurist painters. Via Dupré, 18 – Tel. 0555978145 Weekdays: need reservation Festive: Groups visit with reservation Closed: Saturday, Sunday august
S. Romolo: in the principal Fiesole square, piazza Mino da Fiesole, the large Cathedral is an excellent example of Romanesque and contains several precious works of art. Piazzetta della Cattedrale, 1 – Tel. 05559400 Weekday and festive opening: Autumn-Winter 8-12 and 14-17 Spring-Summer 7.30-12.15 and 15-18 Mass: Autumn-Winter 10.30, 12, 17.00 Spring-Summer 10.30, 12.00, 18.00
S. Francesco: the church and convent straddle the top of the hill, where once the Etruscan fort stood. The church contains the Annunciation by Raffaellino del Garbo and the convent has also a small Missionary Museum. Via San Francesco, 13 – Tel. 05559175 Weekdays and festive opening: Autumn-Winter and Spring-Summer 6.45 – 20 Mass: 11 (Sunday)
Badia Fiesolana: just downhill from San Domenico, this was the first cathedral of Fiesole and the See of the bishoprick. The Romanesque façade is in green and white marble pattern. Via Badia dei Roccettini, 9 – Tel. 05559155 Weekday opening: (church entrance from the cloister) Autumn-Winter 9-17 and Spring-Summer 8-18 Festive opening: 10.30-12.30 Mass: 11
San Domenico: in this convent Giovanni da Fiesole, known as Fra Angelico, lived and did most of his painting. There are several good paintings in the church. Piazza San Domenico – Tel. 05559230 Weekday opening: 8-12 and 16-18 Closed in Sunday, opened only for the mass at 10.30 and 12
VILLAS AND GARDENS
During the Renaissance many villas were built or enlarged with lovely surrounding gardens. From Spring to Autumn you can visit Villa Medici (private residence), Villa Peyron, Castel di Poggio, Vincigliata Castle (private residence), the Villa of Maiano (private home), Villa le Balze (seat of Georgetown University in Florence), Villa Nieuwenkamp (private residence), Villa Il Roseto and Villa I Tatti (seat of Harvard University in Florence) each surrounded by Italianate gardens that make the hill of Fiesole one of the most famous landscapes in the world.
Villa Medici o Il Palagio with garden: Via Beato Angelico, 2 Fiesole.
firstname.lastname@example.org Visits by reservation, Monday-Friday: 9-13, closed in Saturday and Sunday
Villa Peyron: Via di Vincigliata, 2 Fiesole – Tel. 0555978278/20066206 www.bardinipeyron.it email@example.com Visits by reservation 5 days in advance in Spring-Summer and Friday. Saturday and Sunday without reservation: 10-18
Castel di Poggio: Via di Vincigliata, 4 Fiesole - Tel. 055599083 mob. 3939311006 www.casteldipoggio.it firstname.lastname@example.org Weekdays, visits by reservation: 10-13; 15-18 – Sundays and holidays, visits by appointment
Vincigliata Castle: Via di Vincigliata, 21 Fiesole – Tel. 055599556 www.castellodivincigliata.it email@example.com Visits by reservation on weekdays: Autumn-Winter 9-17 and Spring-Summer 9-19 Sundays visits by appointment 9-13
Villa and farm of Maiano: Via del Salviatino, 1 Fiesole – Tel. 055599600 www.contemiarifulcis.it firstname.lastname@example.org Weekdays, visits by reservation Sundays and holidays, visits by appointment
Villa Le Balze: Via Vecchia Fiesolana, 26 Fiesole – Tel. 05559208 www.villalebalze.org email@example.com Monday-Friday, visits by reservation 9-12 am; 14-16 Sundays and Holidays closed
Villa Nieuwenkamp: Via Vecchia Fiesolana, 62 firstname.lastname@example.org Visits by reservation, Monday-Friday afternoon Saturday, Sunday and holidays closed
Villa Il Roseto: Via Beato Angelico, 15 Fiesole – Tel. 055597149 www.michelucci.it email@example.com Weekdays, visits by reservation by phone 9-13 Saturday, Sunday and holidays closed
Villa I Tatti: Via di Vincigliata , 26 Fiesole – Tel. 055603251 www.itatti.it firstname.lastname@example.org Weekdays, visits by reservation (min. 20 days in advance) Tues. and Wed.: 15-16 Saturday, Sunday and holidays closed
Mobili Arte Povera Florence rustic furniture, rustic furniture sales and restoration, Provencal style furniture. Via Primo Maggio, 16 Fiesole – mobile: 3934265353
Falegnameria Scala srl The Falegnameria Scala based his experience on nearly a century of love for the craft. In 1957 the family Scala moved to Fiesole, where the F.lli Scala s.n.c. was born, which specializes in making wooden window frames. As the business grows, it adapts to the market demands and supports the production of window frames also that of tailor-made furniture. Via Faentina 158, Fiesole – Tel. 055541013
MISTERY AND BREATH-TAKING VIEWS
Between Spring and Autumn you can walk through the woods, among pine trees and cypresses, through olive groves and hamlets, skirting castles, famous villas, the tabernacles of wayside shrines and the pietra serena quarries. Some of the paths have beautiful views of Florence. You can also visit mysterious Etruscan Fonte Sotterra or walk up to the hill from which, in 1506, Leonardo da Vinci did his experiment with a flying machine.
There is a COOP supermarket open from Monday to Saturday from 9- 13 in the morning and from 16 - 20 in the afternoon, while it’s closed on Sunday. This COOP is in Via Gramsci 18 in Fiesole.
There is a market every Saturday morning until 13.30 in Via Portigiani, near the principal square, Piazza Mino. There’s also a lovely Antiques Market every first Sunday of each month from 8 in the morning until 19 (except July and August) in Piazza Mino da Fiesole.
There are at least two chemist’s in Fiesole city center that may be not be open on Sundays and holidays. These are:
Farmacia Perna Piazza Mino 15, Fiesole
Farmacia San Bernardino Via Colzi 8/b, Fiesole
GOURMET EATING AND TASTING
As well as various well-known restaurants that offer a typical Tuscan cuisine, Fiesole has several farm complexes where you can taste their products and visit their cellars and olive presses. The oil is famous and so is the wine, which has won several international prizes, not to mention saffron, a fashionable spice, and honey. If you dine in one of the restaurants in the hills of Fiesole you may well have the added enjoyment of a view of Florence, and an overall feeling of well being, especially in Summer.
Alcedo Pasticceria Bar
Via Gramsci 29, Fiesole Artisan Pastry shop
Closed on Monday
Open Thurs-Sat 7-20 Sun 7 - 13
Bar Città di Fiesole
Via Gramsci 34, Fiesole Internet point, tobacconist’s, articles for smokers
Open Mon-Sat 7 -19.30
Piazza Mino 39, Fiesole Panoramic hall and terrace
Open every day 11-24
Caffè Déja vu
Piazza Mino 11, Fiesole
Open every day from 7.30 - 24
Caffè al N° 5
Piazza Mino 5, Fiesole Bistrot and American Bar
Closed on Wednesday
Open from 10.30-22.30
Caffè Teatro Romano
Via Portigiani 1, Fiesole Within the archeological site
Open every day from 9 to 20
Opens from 20 for Estate Fiesolana performances.
Closed on Tuesday
Gelateria di Maiano
Via Cave di Maiano 3/a, Fiesole Ice-creamery and lounge bar Monday-Friday 17 -2
Saturday and Sunday 13-2
Via Fra’ Beato Angelico 1, San Domenico-Fiesole Cafè, pub, Tearoom, Milkshakes and Big screen
Open every day from 17.30 to 1
Testamatta Piazza Mino 6, Fiesole Wine bar open seasonal
Di Vino Paci
Piazza Garibaldi 19, Fiesole Wine bar
Open every day from 9 to 13 in the morning and from 15.30 until 19.30 in the afternoon.
Piazza Mino 39/a, Fiesole
Open every day at lunch from 12 until 14.30 and dinner from 19 until 22.30
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