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Archaeological area in Fiesole
Photo ©Enrico Caracciolo

Fiesole to Florence: discovering the Etruscan past

All the relics of the ancient Etruscans at the Archaeological Museums in Florence and Fiesole

First leg
Fiesole and the archaeological area
Etruscan Fiesole
Etruscan Fiesole - Credit: Courtesy of Fiesole Municipality

Our tour begins in Fiesole at the town’s Archaeological Area and Museum, where you’ll find a reconstruction of the entrance into an Etruscan tomb and the remains of the Roman amphitheatre and bathhouses. Leaving behind the bathhouses, head west towards the Etruscan walls, which stand 4.80 metres high in places, with large stone ashlars. Along one section of the walls the remains of a door or tower can be seen. The reproductions of two altars, one of which is Etruscan, are seen on the walk towards the temple. The Roman temple (on a podium and boasting a monumental staircase) is found in the same place as an older Etruscan temple, whose single cell layout with side wings can still be seen. It was probably the place of worship of a healing divinity (numerous votive offerings have been unearthed that depict healed body parts). Fragments of the earthenware decoration of the pediment are displayed in the museum, shaped like an Ionic temple in the archaeological area. Here visitors can find relics dating back to the Bronze Age and the Roman era, including steli (one depicts a banquet), bronzes, the remains of the architectural elements of the temple’s pediment and votive offerings showing anatomical parts. After the visit to the museum, we return to piazza Mino, skirt the eleventh-century cathedral and climb up to S. Francesco along the street of the same name, passing by the Bishop’s Palace. At the top of the hill, enjoy the amazing views over Florence.

Second leg
Florence and the National Archaeological Museum

We reach Florence along the scenic road via San Domenico. The city’s National Archaeological Museum is housed in the seventeenth-century Palazzo della Crocetta, in piazza Santissima Annunziata, and displays many priceless Etruscan finds from all over Tuscany. There’s also a section of Attican ceramics, often unearthed in Etrucan tombs, and a large Egyptian section, the second biggest in Italy after Turin’s famous Egyptian Museum.

From piazza Santissima Annunziata, designed alongside Brunelleschi’s Ospedale degli Innocenti, walk down via dei Servi to reach the side of the apse of Florence Cathedral, the city’s religious centre vaunting some of Florence’s most important buildings, including the Baptistery and Giotto’s Bell Tower.

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Etruscans