Fiesole is the charming little town right above Florence (take bus N. 7 from Piazza San Marco and you are there!). Fiesole was probably founded in the 9th-8th century BC by the Etruscans, so its fame is not only due to the perfection of its little streets and to the scenic views of Florence and the surrounding hills, but also to the many well-preserved remnants of the past: the Etruscans walls, the Roman baths and theatre, the ancient cathedral of St. Romulus (1028) and so much more.
One of the best ways to explore Fiesole, getting to know all its secrets, stories and anecdotes, is by participating in one of the many "walks" that are organized throughout the year. In fact, walking along the footpaths of Fiesole is not just an unforgettable trekking experience, but also a unique opportunity to experience the city’s art, history and culture.
FAITH AND ART WAY Until September 8 9am, Caldine, in front of the Church of Maddalena (bus N. 21 Florence, Via Pacinotti - Caldine primary school bus stop) Duration: 3 hours A visit to the Saint Mary Magdalene Monastery complex, recently reopened, then a walk along old country trails to discover an itinerary of ancient parish churches (pievi). IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE ETRUSCANS Until September 15 9am, Piazza Mino, in front of the Town Hall Duration: 3 hours The remains of the ancient Etruscan civilization, the archaeological area - with the Roman Temple of the 1st Century B.C., built over a previous Etruscan temple of the 4th Century B.C. -, the historical centre of Fiesole, within the old city walls.
MONTECECERI PARK AND ITS QUARRIES Until October 6 9am, Piazza Mino, in front of the Town Hall Duration: 3 hours The park of Montececeri is known since olden times for its quarries of pietra serena stone. It’s also known as a “Leonardian site” because here is where Leonardo da Vinci owned an olive grove and this is the site of his first human flight experiment, in 1506. The walk includes also a visit to the Fontesotterra (Underground Spring), an artificial (and maybe Etruscan) cave.
LOOKING OVER THE RIVER ARNO FROM FIESOLE Until October 13 9am, Piazza S. Pertini, Girone (bus N. 14/A from Santa Marina Novella Florence train station) Duration: 3 hours A walk through what was once the vast territory of Fiesole: from the banks of the Arno river - with a visit to the Gualchiere, the factory-mill on the river once used for the preparation of woollen cloths – to the hills of Settignano – with the stunning Villa Gamberaia.
VILLA PEYRON AND FONTELUCENTE WOOD Until October 20 9am, Piazza Mino, in front of the Town Hall Duration: 3 hours A walk through the narrow streets of Fiesole and of the countryside, to reach Villa Peyron and its beautiful Italian garden.
VIA VECCHIA FIESOLANA: HISTORY AND ART Until October 27 9am, Piazza Mino, in front of the Town Hall Duration: 2,5 hours From Fiesole to San Domenico, to visit the precious treasures of this little village. Then, a climb back to Fiesole along the old Vecchia Fiesolana road, characterized by famous villa, old Oratories and glimpses of Florence.
All the walks are scheduled on Sunday and are free of charge. Reservation is required, on the web-site, by phone (Monday-Friday, 10.30am-12.30pm, +39 055 5961311 or +39 055 5961296) or at the Tourist Information Office (Via Portigiani 3, Fiesole). The itineraries are suitable for all ages and do not require any particular physical training.