Fiesole is older than the Renaissance and older than Florence too: not far from Florence city center and very easy to reach, Fiesole is the perfect destination for a one – day visit while you are staying in the cradle of the Renaissance…
Fiesole in the beginning
The Etruscan settlement that will become Fiesole dates to the IX Century B.C..
The main remain from that age is part of the Etruscan walls, nearby via Frà Giovanni Angelico, the San Girolamo ex Convent, Via di Riorbico and the Borgunto area.
The Etruscan walls, or: you can’t mess with Florence…
The Etruscan walls were impressive.
During the Middle Ages people thought that they were a work of giants. If we can’t experience them at their best it’s all Florence’s fault: the town was a military and political competitor to Florence, which conquered the hilltop walled town in 1125, destroying a great part of the walls thereafter.
But let’s go back to the ancient Fiesole for a while…
The Roman Times
The very first historical record of Fiesole is… bad news.
It refers to the conquest by the Romans, in 283 B.C.. Nevertheless, the vestiges of the Roman age definitely are a Fiesole must – see.
Made in Rome: the baths, the theatre
The Fiesole Roman baths have been restored and they allow you to learn a lot about one of the pillars of the Roman civilization: the public (or, maybe better: social) baths, with the calidarium and its three small heated pools; the tepidarium for warm baths and the frigidarium, the oldest area, for cold baths.
The Roman theatre dates to the I Century B.C. and it had a tormented history: at the beginning of the XIX Century it was used as a quarry, then buried to avoid the stones theft.
It was finally restored between 1873 and 1911, and it is now part of the Fiesole Roman heritage, along with the baths and the finds of the Archeological Museum.