I walked up to Piazza Beccaria and took the Number 13 bus to the Piazzale, enjoying the view along way, an easy 10-minute ride. Not sure where the stop for San Miniato was, I went further than the Piazzale bus stop, then walked back along the tree-lined path until I saw the sign for the church. There were two paths ahead of me: a paved street or old stone steps leading up to a forest. Beckoned by the green vision ahead of me, I chose the old stone steps, and climbed my way up to a dense wooded area. I couldn't see San Miniato, but I was entranced by the trees, so continued walking through the forest.
To my right, I could see olive trees down the hill, and I could hear birds singing. I'd found a quiet space to enjoy the day, away from the city. There were a few people along the forest path: a woman doing yoga asanas, a man walking his dog, another man by himself. But we all seemed reverent, as if we were in a sacred space, with tall fir trees offering a serene presence.
The forest wound around a medieval wall that surrounds San Miniato and il Cimitero delle Porte Sante, a large cemetery. A steep staircase leads up the hill to the church, which has a commanding presence, with its Byzantine facade.
After the serene beauty of the forest, the church seemed dark and cold, so I didn't spend much time inside. But I hope to return some week for Sunday Mass that is accompanied by Gregorian chant.
The view of the city from this height was spectacular.
Now that I know the way, I feel certain I'll return to this quiet green space again and again, away from the crowds and the city, where I feel restored by the serenity of the wise old trees.