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Fiesole, Tuscany, Florence

Fiesole

Cities and Towns in Tuscany

Founded in the 7th century BC by the Etruscans, Fiesole was teh most important city in Northern Etruria and makes for a delightful foray for a few hours of Florence with wealth of ancient finds from the 15th and 14th centuries B.C. (Middle Bronze Age) exhibited in the Archaeological Museum bear testimony to an even more distant past.

Considerable parts of the 3rd century B.C. city walls are still largely intact, as is the large Roman theatre which was probably completed just before the middle of the 1st century A.D. Fiesole also pre-dates Florence as a seat of bishops. Its early 11th-century cathedral and 13th-century bell tower overlook the large square named after the famous Renaissance sculptor Mino da Fiesole.

The Bishop's Palace (Palazzo Vescovile) situated right opposite the cathedral dates back to the same period, but was rebuilt in the 17th century.
The nearby Seminario building was constructed at the close of the same century, as was the road which climbs up as far as the seat of the ancient Etruscan acropolis, San Francesco. It was there that Franciscan friars built a convent in the 14th century and began to put together what today is one of the most important collections of Chinese bronzes extant in Italy (Museo Missionario).

On the opposite side of the square, facing the Seminario, are the Town Hall (Palazzo Comunale) and a church (chiesa di Santa Maria Primerana). The Museo Bandini houses a valuable collection of paintings and sculptures (10th-18th centuries), while 19th century documents and works of art are preserved on the premises of the Fondazione Primo Conti.

Among the countless prestigious ancient residences belonging to the main Florence noble families which are dotted around the outskirts of the city, particular mention should be made of the Villa Medici, which was built by Michelozzo at the instigation of Cosimo the Elder in 1458.
Halfway along the road from Fiesole to Florence is the 15th century monastery of San Domenico, where Friar Beato Angelico lived and worked. The magnificent altar piece inside the church illustrates scenes from his life. The abbey named Badia Fiesolana stands just below.

 

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