An excursion to Fiesole is one of things not to be missed during an holiday in Florence, an experience to live in this elegant village at just 20 minutes away from the city centre.


Fiesole stands on a hill and offers a panoramic view of Florence. The best point to enjoy the spectacle of a city, cradle of the Renaissance, is near the Monastery of San Francesco.
Always considered one of the most exclusive suburbs of the Tuscan capital, it captivates with the evidence of its Etruscan-Roman past, with elegant villas and fascinating palaces, with monuments and nature trails.

Fiesole, the 10 things to see

Let’s find out the 10 most important sites in the Fiesole area.

Archeological area

archeological area

The strong local archaeological tradition gives us the remains of the Roman theatre, the large pools of the spa complex, the internal area with pools and heated rooms. In the first decade of the twentieth century the Etruscan-Roman temple was brought to light, still today protagonist of excavation works. The archaeological site is located in the area between Via Duprè, Via delle Mura Etrusche and Via Marini. The northern side of the archaeological area is bordered by the spectacular Etruscan walls, built with large blocks of sandstone.

Archaeological Museum

Integral part of the archaeological area, the museum is located inside and it has the typical shape of a Tuscan temple. It was built between 1912 and 1914 and it houses numerous finds taken from the excavations of Fiesole and the surrounding area. Among the most important discoveries we find a bronze statue of the Capitoline she-wolf, Fiesole sandstone steles, Etruscan cinerary urns, votive bronzes, objects from the Etruscan and Roman periods, terracotta and bronze oil lamps, Longobard burials, weapons, jewels, medieval objects. Alongside these, there are private donations, including the Costantini Collection (with Etruscan, Greek and Magna Graecia ceramics) and the Albites Collection (with Roman sculptures).

Bandini Museum

bandini museum tuscany

In Via Giovanni Duprè we find this small but very interesting museum which preserves Florentine paintings from the 12th-14th century, made by the so-called “Primitivi”, or Florentine and Tuscan artists of the 13th and 14th centuries: Bernardo Daddi, Taddeo Gaddi, Nardo di Cione, Lorenzo Monaco. Inside it, there are also works in terracotta by Della Robbia. The works of the fifteenth century masters such as Neri di Bicci and Iacopo del Sellaio are also particularly important. Among the most beautiful works we find a Madonna with Child from Botticelli’s workshop. The museum is completed by a section dedicated to sculptures, with twenty polychrome terracotta’s by Della Robbia.

Cathedral

The San Romolo Cathedral tuscany fiesole

The San Romolo Cathedral, in Romanesque style, was built shortly after the one thousand year. Frequently enlarged and renovated over the centuries, it boasts a facade with three main portals and a bell tower that reaches 42.30 metres. The interiors are majestic and they follow the layout of three naves on stone columns with figured capitals. Here we can admire numerous valuable works: the frescoes of San Benedetto and San Sebastiano by Pietro Perugino School, the wooden chair of Sant’Andrea Corsini by Pietro di Lando, the frescoes with San Romolo Stories by Nicodemo Ferrucci, a late Gothic triptych by Bicci di Lorenzo, the funeral monument of Leonardo Salutati created by Mino da Fiesole, the Madonna in adoration of the Child between San Leonardo and San Remigio by Opus Mini, the pictorial decoration with the representations of the Evangelists, Saints Leonardo and John the Baptist by Cosimo Rosselli, the San Romolo Stories and San Romolo among his classmates by Ghirlandaio school, the marble reredos by Andrea Ferrucci, the statue of San Romolo in the chair by Giovanni della Robbia.

San Jacopo Chapel

The ancient oratory of the Bishop’s Palace dates back to the year 1000. Underwent various works over the years, it took its present form in the 14th century. Inside it, we can admire the work The Coronation of the Virgin between Angels and Saints by Bicci di Lorenzo in the fourteenth-late Gothic style. The rooms house a collection of sacred goldsmith’s art from the Florence area with late Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical objects. But also the fresco by Antonio Marini depicting San Jacopo, the Miter of the Bishop Salutati, numerous chalices, the Processional Cross by Girolamo di Martino Spigliati, monstrances from the 17th century, furnishings from the 18th century.

Castle of Vincigliata

Castle of Vincigliata fiesole tuscany

This ancient medieval fortress is one of the best examples of the medieval romantic dream made by the English who swarmed in Florence during the nineteenth century. In fact, the Alessandri structure was purchased in 1855 by John Temple Leader and soon became the centre of a true Gothic revival near Florence. Inside it we find paintings and sculptures accumulated by Temple Leader. A rich collection dedicated to the Middle Ages. Today, it is an international centre that hosts events, art exhibitions, fashion shows, gala dinners, meetings.

Badia Fiesolana

Badia Fiesolana fiesole

In San Domenico area, we find a church consecrated shortly after the year 1000, with a white and green marble facade that recalls the Baptistery of San Miniato al Monte. The interiors are large and in Renaissance style, with a Latin cross plan. Among the works we point out the Crucifixion by Bernardino Campi, the Flagellation of Jesus made in Florence, the polychrome marble altar by Giovan Battista Cennini. To the right of the Badia we find the former monastery, now the seat of the European University Institute.

Basilica of Sant’Alessandro

Basilica of Sant’Alessandro fiesole tuscany

Dating back to the 6th century and built in neoclassical style by the architect Giuseppe Del Rosso, it is one of the FAI Heart Places. Inside it, we find numerous Byzantine and Oriental elements, a structure with three naves with marble columns and Ionic capitals. Today, the church hosts events and exhibitions. At the Oratory of the Compagnia dell’Assunta we can admire the Madonna between San Michele and San Pietro di Gerino da Pistoia.

Monte Ceceri

A famous location for the sandstone quarries, the stone also used by Benvenuto Cellini and Giorgio Vasari. But this is a famous place also because, according to legend, Leonardo da Vinci tested human flight for the first time with one of his machines driven by collaborator Tommaso Masini. The location is full of paths particularly appreciated by trekking lovers.

The villas of Fiesole:

Villa Peyron at Fontelucente Wood

Villa Peyron at Fontelucente Wood fiesole tuscany

Built on Etruscan ruins, famous for its terraced garden on a steeply sloping area. Alongside this, we find other interesting spaces: the chapel and its garden, the stairways leading to the area dedicated to music and the pond.

Villa Le Balze

Villa Le Balze fiesole

Built in the early twentieth century by Cecil Pinsent and Geoffrey Scott, it boasts a garden with long perspective axes that form a succession of rooms. The villa is rich in decorations, mosaics, tuff works, stalactites and stuccos.

Villa Medici or Palagio

Villa Medici or Palagio fiesole

It was the first Medici Renaissance villa with a garden. It was designed by Michelozzo during the 15th century. It conquers with its terraced garden on very steep surfaces. It is one of the best examples of integration between building and landscape.

Villa The Rest of the Bishops

Villa The Rest of the Bishops fiesole

Dating back to the 15th century, it boasts a garden with a decadent charm, with a fountain and a stone column, an orchard, an iron pergola, fountains, statues, marble furnishings.

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