Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sightseeing in Fiesole,Tuscany

A sightseeing visit to Fiesole can take just an hour, after winding up the steep curvy road, or it can last a full day or an afternoon if you prefer.

Fiesole is a wonderful side trip from the bustling city of Florence below, Fiesole also offers amazing views of Florence, the River Arno and a lot more.

The town itself far predates the Roman period, and gios right back to the country's Etruscan era in the 9th century BC.

Fiesole was conquered by the Romans in 283 BC and soon became home to an outstanding school of the period. The city saw wars between Rome and the Vandals, as well, in the early 5th century AD. Its citizens fought many wars with Florence until succumbing to its more famous neighbor in 1125 AD.

If you take a sightseeing trip to Fiesole you'll find reminders of that histry scattered around the town.

The cathedral in Fiesole is a relatively plain building, but still well worth a quick visit for its orange brick and medieval tower. The Franciscan monastery is another site that may offer simple architecture, but is full of historical significance. In the Courtyard to Heaven, there is a quite interesting small column with a cross set between two short thin columns topped by a lintel.

Much more impressive is the Medici Villa, which was constructed by the famous rulers in the mid-15th century. You may also want to visit the nearby Lombard tombs, a reminder of the time the site served as a necropolis. In addition, there are outstanding examples of Greek vases, amphorae and many other artifacts that would have been well known to citizens of the day.

But unquestionably, one of the most enticing sights for sightseeing visitors to Fiesole is the Roman Theater, still in use today.

Built in the 1st century BC, it offers an amphitheater that seats 3,000 people today just as it did 2,000 years ago. The right half is original, the left portion was rebuilt in the 19th century. Sitting among sections of column, broken friezes and other remnants of the period, it's easy to imagine hearing a performance from that bygone era.

A grove of olive trees decorates the center and there are baths with outstanding arches nearby. Sitting on the curved stone bleachers one can hear the strains of Vivaldi from the 18th century while being reminded of music from much further back.

Sightseeing in Fiesole can be very rewarding, even if it is just a couple of hours spent wandering around the streets and a quick coffee in a pavement cafe.

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