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.
email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com Weekdays, visits by reservation Sundays and holidays, visits by appointment
Villa Le Balze: Via Vecchia Fiesolana, 26 Fiesole – Tel. 05559208 www.villalebalze.org firstname.lastname@example.org Monday-Friday, visits by reservation 9-12 am; 14-16 Sundays and Holidays closed
Villa Nieuwenkamp: Via Vecchia Fiesolana, 62 email@example.com Visits by reservation, Monday-Friday afternoon Saturday, Sunday and holidays closed
Villa Il Roseto: Via Beato Angelico, 15 Fiesole – Tel. 055597149 www.michelucci.it firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com Weekdays, visits by reservation (min. 20 days in advance) Tues. and Wed.: 15-16 Saturday, Sunday and holidays closed
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