An afternoon in Fiesole

Katie Acompora
February 27, 2014

As a study abroad student living in the center of Florence, I appreciate my picturesque view of the Duomo from my apartment window, the distinctive sound of the church bells ringing every morning and the violinist who plays symphonies directly under my third-floor apartment window each night. My location in the heart of the city dissuades me from straying from the charm, energy and chaos of Florence.


Yet one thing that the city center lacks during the day is the sublime feeling of being truly connected to nature and one’s surroundings. This is why I took the 7 bus ( from piazza San Marco to Fiesole one sunny Saturday afternoon.


The winding ride itself is quiet but magical as a panoramic view of the city of Florence is revealed. When I stepped foot in this hillside town, I found simple joy in discovering the church of Fiesole, the lone street vendor trying to make a living selling his authentic jewelry and my leisurely walk through the woods.


The most breathtaking spot for hikers and tourists is Monte Ceceri, a hill that was once popular for its perfect sandstone, called the ‘stone of Fiesole.’ The hill is also where Leonardo da Vinci is believed to have conducted his flight experiments. Within this park, there are four unique and captivating paths: Leonardo’s Flight, A Terrace on Florence, The Stonecutters' Quarries, and Breathing the Forest. Other must-see sites in Fiesole that are closer to piazza Mino include the Etruscan walls, the Roman amphitheater, the Roman baths and the necropolis.


My suggestion is to wander aimlessly through the town and be pleasantly surprised at what you find. As Leonardo once said, ‘Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.’


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