Friday, October 8, 2010


Yesterday I decided to spend the afternoon in Fiesole, a small, picturesque town in the hills north of Florence. The weather was sunny and warm, a perfect day for a long hike. Fiesole is a short bus ride from Piazza San Marco and provides easy access to some wonderful panoramic views of Florence and the surrounding area.

After arriving in the main piazza, I decided to explore quiet streets away from the center of town, and found a scenic passeggiata that took me around the perimeter of the town. During the week, few people are in Fiesole, and most people come to see the Etruscan museums rather than walk outside the town, as I like to do, so I was quite alone most of the time. The town's history dates from 283 B.C., when it was conquered by the Romans, and the Roman theater is still used on occasion. I usually go to Fiesole to enjoy nature, so I haven't explored the museums yet.

Along my walk, I noticed many expensive homes, secured by elaborate gates, and got the definite impression that these are homes of very wealthy people.

I found several long pedestrian paths which were walled on both sides, and I wondered how often anyone uses them, as they seemed to be neglected.

My main goal for the day was to walk down the hill from Fiesole to another small town, San Domenico. I walked down along narrow, empty streets, enjoying the weather and the sounds of nature around me: the whisper of lizards climbing the walls along side the road, the music of birds, and the constant buzzing of bees in the vines covering the walls. Cars were an infrequent sight, but when they came along, I would look for a doorway to step into to give them room to pass by me.

It took me about 40 minutes to hike down to San Domenico, and the only place I stopped to visit was the cimitero, or cemetary, whose gates were open as I walked by. I like seeing the way photos are included on the gravestones, so you get a sense of the people who are buried here. This gravestone included a couple and their son.

I had a wonderful time exploring Fiesole, and know I will return again and again to become more familiar with the winding, empty streets leading down the hill.

For more photos, click here: Fiesole#

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