A TOUR OF FIESOLE MEANS RELAX
The Tour of Fiesole is ideal to join your interest for history and art with the tranquilly of a hill town, only 20 minutes from Florence. A visit of Fiesole is a perfect tour of the countryside of Tuscany, hilly landscape, the skyline defined by the cypress trees, beautiful villas all over. This is a tour for the ones who have been already to Florence and wish to discover something different yet close, which doesn’t requite a private van. Forget about the big crowds lining up at Accademia Gallery. Enjoy the silence of Fiesole! Another of the good things of Fiesole is that it’s practically attached to Florence. You don’t really have to worry about transportation. We get to the main square (Piazza Mino da Fiesole) by public bus in less than half hour. Enjoy a marvelous view of the hills surrounding Florence on the way up, a switch back after the other. Test your Italian skills and interact with the man of the kiosk to buy the bus tickets! Believe me, you will love this tour!
In the IV century, Fiesole was one of the biggest cities of Etruria, much earlier than the Romans conquered Italy. It was gradually absorbed by the Romans who highly considered the Etruscan civilization because of its refined culture and developed economy. Accordingly, Fiesole is traditionally considered the “mother of Florence”. Thanks to its richness and importance, Fiesole was defeated by Florence in 1125. It became the favorite place of the rich Florentine families (like the Medici) for building country villas. From the end of the XVIII century, Fiesole became one of the preferred places in Italy for foreign nobles. They bought here huge mansions with big amazing gardens. Fiesole was the shelter for poets and artists, who were inspired by its beauty. Among them the Renaissance artists Beato Angelico and Mino da Fiesole, and in the XX century, the painter Arnold Böcklin, the English collector Sir John Temple Leader, and the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
We will start our tour of Fiesole from the Fiesole archaeological area: first of all, the Etruscan temple and walls, the Roman baths and the Roman theatre. Therefore, we will visit the Cathedral of San Romolo. We will end our visit on the romantic hill of San Francesco, where we can enjoy a breath-taking view of Florence and have a look at the convent and the little Franciscans diocesan museum where pieces from ancient missions are exhibited (even Egyptian mummies!). During the tour, a stop at local pasticceria Alcedo is a must-do. After having tried the torta della nonna (soft shortcrust pastry filled with thick custard) your concept of Heaven will definitely change. Finalized the tour, I suggest you have lunch or dinner in one of the delicious typical restaurants in Fiesole or to go down to Fattoria di Maiano, to enjoy even more your day in an organic farmhouse.
TOUR OF AN ORGANIC OLIVE GROVE AND EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL TASTING IN FIESOLE
Fiesole also means olive trees. For the Florentines (and in particular the Fiesolani) extra virgin olive oil is something truly holy. First of all, the olives harvest is a family ritual. You have to put the nets first, then you start picking the olives (which is veeery tiring!). The next step is to divide the leaves and branches from the fruits. Lastly, take the olives (just large amounts) to the “frantoio”, the olive oil mill. The most rewarding thing is to toast a piece of bread directly at the mill and spread your brand new oil on it. Simply divine! An experience that every one should have! This is why we have created our Fiesole Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tasting experience! We will go by private van with driver to an organic farm, specialized to produce excellent quality extra virgin olive oil. It’s a family that has been living in Fiesole for over 200 years. Firstly, we will visit the organic grove, guided by an expert. Then we will visit the oil mill, one of the most modern of Tuscany region. Ultimately, we will have a heavenly tasting combining extra virgin olive oil with different flavors, such as beans, bread, fresh cheese and even gelato!