Things to do
Fiesole was once an Etruscan stronghold until the Romans breached its massive walls and conquered this important settlement in the 2nd century BC. It’s even rumoured that the shrine of St. Romulus – the first Bishop of Fiesole – is still inside the Catholic Cathedral in the main town square. Fiesole grew into a prosperous, powerful town that rivalled Florence. And by the 14th century, rich and famous Florentines were flocking here to build their garden villas surrounded by cypress trees. Today, it’s easy to see why.
Start by visiting Fiesole’s famous thermal water spa, magnificent Roman amphitheatre, baths and huge stone remnants that formed the Etruscan walls. As you gaze down over Florence from this prime hilltop location, it’s easy to imagine Leonardo da Vinci testing out (unsuccessfully) his theories of flight. While over the road from the archaeological area, stroll forwards in time to a collection of beautiful Florentine artworks at the Museo Bandini.
If you’re visiting Fiesole between June and August, this is when the Roman amphitheatre makes the perfect stage for the Estate Fiesolana summer events. Get yourself a ticket and look forward to a starlit evening of classical music, theatre and comedy shows.