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Yesterday after a grueling test in my Italian class (which I am certain I failed AGAIN!) My friend Toni and I finally made it up to Fiesole. Fiesole is a quaint little town in the province of Florence. From Piazza San Marco you catch the #7 bus which takes about 20 mins or so to climb the 5 miles or 8km up the side of the beautiful rolling Florentine hills. When you get into Piazza San Marco don’t be confused (as I always am) and think that the busiest area is where you catch the bus. The bus #7 stop is closest to the Church, not the restaurants. And if you are meeting a friend, tell them to meet you in front of the statue so there is no confusion. My friend Toni doesn’t have a phone and we have spent several minutes on different days, walking around looking for each other because we haven’t said specifics… According to Rick Steves, (Toni owns this book, I have nothing because I am too cheap to buy them and like to be surprised) this is a bus where you must be aware of pick pockets. I say, just sit on an inside seat and don’t keep anything important in your pockets… Personally I think you are asking for thievery if you walk around with your wallet hanging out in your pocket or your purse unzipped! But hey, Rick is just trying to make a point. Make sure to get a bus ticket! I know a lot of people don’t, but on this particular trip the “Bus Meter Maids” actually came on the bus during the return ride home and asked for our tickets… It’s a €45 (and up) fine! (When re-calculated into the exchange rate for dollars it’s around $60+! NOT CHEAP! Considering that a round trip bus ticket is €5.) The bus makes a last stop and then turns around and comes home so at the last stop you know you’re in Fiesole! There are several outdoor cafes so come hungry!
Toni and I are what I would call “dingbats” together, so maybe a guide-book is good. In any case we read the book and then walked in the opposite direction up a hill into the neighborhoods of Fiesole. The streets are narrow and since Toni trips and falls everywhere she goes, (I’m just joking Toni) I was a bit nervous about her and the cars. The plan was to get lunch and then traverse around Fiesole. But we went in the opposite direction of our destination and had to stop and ask for directions… We found a place recommended by Rick (our new best friend) called Perseus… Only it’s not called that in the front any longer, it’s now called, Fiesolano. (Check that Rick!)
Perseus is on the door but you can’t see that from the street. If you go around the to the back there is a beautiful little courtyard and a gate that says Perseus on it… It is literally right up the street from the bus station. We sat outside because it just so happened to be an amazingly beautiful day! 55˚F (12-ish˚ Celsius.) The guy who helped us get un-lost said the fish was great here, so I ordered the Bronzino which translates to Sea Bass! And it was fantastic! Toni ordered a “Drunk’n Meat” pasta dish that was made with chianti and it too was amazingly good! We had all the bread you could eat, a 1/2 ltr of vino and 2 Cafe Americano’s and our bill was only €44! Not bad for a couple of cheapskates.
After all that good food we needed to walk. This is the beautiful thing about Italy; you walk everywhere so you never gain weight here! I just finished eating half a loaf of bread and about 6 potatoes, so walking is definitely essential! We walked up one hill and then down once we realized we weren’t getting anywhere. So then we tried the other side of Fiesole, if you get off the bus and face the church go left up the hill. It’s rather steep hill but there is a beautiful park to stop and catch your breath and see beautiful Firenze from a bird’s eye. There is also a sculpture dedicated to 3 men who died during WWII saving 10 orphans… It really is a sobering thought.
When you get to the convent make sure to head into the church and check out the museum below. We almost missed that because we thought that church was in session. Also go to the right of the door and up the stairs to see where the Padres and Nuns slept and spent their time in contemplation.
I can’t help wondering what they were contemplating… Maybe a softer place to sleep? I haven’t found out all of the history of Fiesole and the Monastery itself, but I have a call out to a friend and will make another journey up the hill in the spring…
Fiesole, tiny as it is, is bursting with rich and diverse history. I highly recommend the bus ride and the exercise…
*** Side note… I didn’t post this right away so I am now back in Fiesole getting my hair done! The salon is called Art 44, It’s located on via Gramsci, 19. PH: 055599013. Tiziano is the owner and Andrea colored my hair. They did a great job and I felt like a queen when my hair was finished!