Looking for a picturesque and doable walk into the hills around Florence, through some beautiful back roads, and with some award winning views? We’ve got you covered. In fact, thanks to our recent move out of the city center we’ve found the perfect 1-hour walk out of the clogged centro and up into the quiet and charming Tuscan hills. The walk leaves from Piazza delle Cure and takes you through some magical winding roads (with several fun stops on the way) to the main piazza of the gorgeous hilltop town of Fiesole. For those of you who are not interested in an uphill climb (which for the last 20 minutes can get a bit steep), but would still like to enjoy this lovely town, jump on Bus #7 (picks up in Piazza San Marco and drops you in Piazza Mino da Fiesole). For those of you who don’t mind the burn or are looking for an excuse to eat more pasta tonight, read on.
The 11th Century façade of the Badia Fiesolana, FiesoleTo begin, take either the Bus #7 or the Bus #1 over the train tracks to Piazza delle Cure. Walk from the piazza (or Viale dei Mille where the #7 drops off) towards the Mugnone River and Via Giovanni Boccaccio (see route map bellow). Follow Via Boccaccio along the river. It will slowly make its way off to the right away from the Mugnone and into some olive groves (be sure to pay attention for cars which can be moving quite quickly along these roads!). Continue to follow Boccaccio as it begins to incline slightly. After about 1.5 miles you will reach the main piazza of a town called San Domenico. This is the midway point.
If the church of San Domenico is open, walk inside and look for the beautiful altarpiece by Fra Angelico of the Virgin and Child between Saints that the artist painted while he was a monk at the convent of San Domenico. Now if there’s time, take this short detour before making the final climb up to Fiesole. In front of the church and running perpendicular to the main drag, you will see a small street called the Via della Badia dei Roccettini. Walk 300 meters down the road until you reach a large stone church on your left, the Badia Fiesolana. The 11th century facade is worth the trip alone, but if the door is open go inside for a better view of the 15th century restored interior, all thanks to Cosimo Il Vecchio de’ Medici. Once you’ve snapped a shot of the church and the view (from which you will see the Duomo looming over all of Florence), make your way back to San Domenico and the main drag.
Plaque dedicated to artist Baccio Bandinelli who lived in this villa. Continue past the church in the direction you had been walking before, further up the hill. You will see that the road forks. Take Via Bandini, the road to the left (though the sign will say for Fiesole, go right). As you head up the road you will pass a small fountain on your right. Hanging on the wall nearby you will see a lions head and a plaque above it noting that this was once the residence of the Renaissance sculptor Baccio Bandinelli. Follow Via Bandini for 400 meters and then make a hard right after the Archivio Pietro Porcinaii. Next, make your second left onto the Via Vecchia Fiesolana (literally the old street to Fiesole). Before the two-lane road was built, this was the only way to get to Fiesole. After about 200 meters you will reach a small church on your right, make a hard left. Head straight up for 100 meters until the road levels off for a moment, revealing the beautiful vista down towards Florence. Time for another photo break. When you’re ready, continue to follow the street you were on which takes a sharp turn to the right after this point. This is the final climb! Follow the Vecchia Fiesolana straight up for 350 meters and it will lead you directly to the main piazza. Congrats! You’ve made it!
Now you can decide whether to take the trek back down or to catch a bus home (the #7 stops right in the main piazza). But while you’re in Fiesole take advantage of its equally lovely and important sites, including The Archeological Museum where you can see remnants of the original Etruscan walls, Roman baths, and a Roman theatre, the main cathedral, and the Bandini Museum. But of course, it’s always a favorite past time to grab a coffee at one of the fancy bars overlooking the city below. And hey, get a dolce. You’ve earned it!
Map of the Fiesole Walk
(to enlarge, click the image)
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