Fiesole (Italian pronunciation: [ˈfjɛːzole]) is a town and comune of the Metropolitan City of Florence in the Italian region of Tuscany, on a scenic height above Florence, 5 km (3 miles) northeast of that city. It has structures dating to Etruscan and Roman times.

Città di Fiesole
View from the hills of Fiesole overlooking Florence
View from the hills of Fiesole
overlooking Florence
Coat of arms of Fiesole
Location of Fiesole
Fiesole is located in Italy
Location of Fiesole in Italy
Fiesole is located in Tuscany
Fiesole (Tuscany)
Coordinates: 43°48′26″N 11°17′31″E / 43.80722°N 11.29194°E / 43.80722; 11.29194
Metropolitan cityFlorence (FI)
FrazioniAnchetta, Caldine, Compiobbi, Ellera, Girone, Pian del Mugnone, Pian di San Bartolo, San Domenico
 • MayorAnna Ravoni
 • Total42 km2 (16 sq mi)
295 m (968 ft)
 (31 December 2014)[2]
 • Total14,075
 • Density340/km2 (870/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code055
ISTAT code048015
Patron saintRomulus of Fiesole
Saint day6 July
WebsiteOfficial website

Since the fourteenth century, the city has always been considered a getaway for members of the upper class of Florence and, up to this day, Fiesole remains noted for its very expensive residential properties, just as well as its centuries-old villas and their formal gardens.[3] The city is generally considered to be the wealthiest and most affluent suburb of Florence. In 2016, the city had the highest median family income in the whole of Tuscany.[4]

Fiesole is a centre of higher education. The campus of the European University Institute is situated in the suburb and uses several historical buildings including the Badia Faesolina and the Villa Schifanoia. Additionally, the American universities, Harvard,[5] Georgetown,[6] and Saint Mary's of Minnesota all maintain campuses at Fiesole.

History Edit

Excavation of the late-fourth-century BC Etruscan temple in Fiesole that later was used by the Romans

Fiesole (Latin Faesulae from the Etruscan Viesul, Viśl, Vipsul) was probably founded sometime during the ninth century BC, as it was an important member of the Etruscan confederacy. The remains of its prehistoric walls and ancient structures have been preserved and an archaeological museum in the town presents artifacts from and information about these cultural periods.

The earliest known recorded mention of the town dates to 283 BC, when the Etruscan town, then known as Faesulae, was conquered by the Romans. In Roman antiquity, it was the seat of a famous school of augurs and, every year, twelve young men were sent there from Rome to study the art of divination.

The old town was either destroyed in the Social War or alternatively by Sulla in 80 BC, in reprisal for supporting the populares faction in Rome.[7] Sulla later colonized it with veterans. This colony who afterward, under the leadership of Gaius Mallius, supported the cause of Catilina.[8][9]

Partial restoration of one of the Roman structures in Fiesole

The Roman theatre, below the cathedral to the northeast, has 19 tiers of stone seats and is 37 yards (34 m) in diameter. It has been restored partially enough to provide a good idea of its structure. Above it is an embanking wall of irregular masonry, and below it some remains of Roman baths, including five parallel vaults of concrete. More than 1,000 silver denarii, all coined before 63 BC, were found at Faesulae in 1829. A small museum contains the objects found in the excavations of the theatre.[10]

Fiesole was the scene of Stilicho's great victory over the Germanic hordes of the Vandals and Suebi under Radagaisus in 406.[11] During the Gothic War (536–553), the town was besieged several times. In 539, Justin, the Byzantine general, captured it and razed its fortifications.

A fourteenth-century depiction from the Nuova Cronica showing the sacking of Fiesole in 1010, Chig.L.VIII.296 49v

It was an independent town for several centuries in the early Middle Ages, no less powerful than Florence in the valley below, and many wars arose between them. In 1010 and 1025, Fiesole was sacked by the Florentines. Later, it was conquered by Florence in 1125, when its leading families were obliged to take up their residence in Florence, which still holds true today. Dante reflects this rivalry in his Divine Comedy by referring to "the beasts of Fiesole" (Inferno XV.73).[12]

By the fourteenth century, rich Florentines had countryside villas in Fiesole, and one of them is the setting of the frame narrative of the Decameron. Boccaccio's poem Il Ninfale fiesolano is a mythological account of the origins of the community.[13]

It is also documented that the artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci experimented for the first time with early flying models on the hills of Fiesoles.[14]

Main sites Edit

  • Remnants of Etruscan walls
  • Roman baths
  • Roman theatre
  • Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall) of the fourteenth century
  • The Cathedral of Fiesole (Il Duomo) that contains the shrine of St. Romulus, martyr, according to legend the first Bishop of Fiesole, and that of his martyred companions; the shrine of St. Donatus of Fiesole; and its altarpiece by Pietro Perugino
  • The Badia or ancient cathedral of St. Romulus, built in 1028 by Bishop Jacopo Bavaro with materials taken from several older edifices at the foot of the hill on which Fiesole stands and were supposed to cover the site of the martyrdom of St. Romulus. It contains notable sculptures by Mino da Fiesole; the old cathedral became a Benedictine abbey that passed into the hands of the Canons Regular of the Lateran. It once possessed a valuable library, long since dispersed. The abbey was closed in 1778
Episcopal Palace
Villa San Michele (after drawings by Michelangelo)
Piazza Mino

In the neighborhood are:

  • Monte Senario, the cradle of the Servite Order, where its seven holy founders lived in austerity
  • S. Martino di Mensola, with the body of St. Andrew, an Irish saint, still incorrupt
  • Monte Ceceri and the monument to Leonardo da Vinci's attempted flight

Notable residents Edit

In literature Edit

The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio is set in the slopes of Fiesole. The city was featured equally in the novels Peter Camenzind (1904) by Hermann Hesse, A Room with a View (1908) by E. M. Forster, and in the book of travel essays Italian Hours (1909) by Henry James.[17]

In contemporary art Edit

See also Edit

Notes Edit

  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Fiesole | Italy | Britannica".
  4. ^ "Blog | Dove vivono i più ricchi d'Italia? La classifica dei Comuni". 4 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies". The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. President and Fellows of Harvard College. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  6. ^ "Villa Le Balze". Villa Le Balze. Georgetown University. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), FAESULAE".
  8. ^ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.
  9. ^ Gaius Mallius was a colonist of Fiesole who, according to Sallust (Bellum Catilinae 24.2), was the first to raise an army and take the field against Rome. His nomen is often confused with the more common Manlius.
  10. ^   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Faesulae". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 124.
  11. ^ Radagaisus was executed 23 August 406 (Herwig Wolfram, Thomas J. Dunlap, tr., History of the Goths, 1988:169); Paulinus of Nola attributed the victory of Stilicho over Radagaisus's Ostrogoths near Fiesole, to the protection of Felix, Peter, Paul and other saints.
  12. ^ Dante in Love, A. N. Wilson, p. 71 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2011)
  13. ^ Nocita, Teresa. "Giovanni Boccaccio: Tuscan mythologies". In Italo Pantani (ed.). Pathways through Literature. Internet Culturale. Archived from the original on 19 January 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  14. ^ Lumsden, Susan (29 May 1988). "A Village of Cypress and Vines". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, New York City: The Bodeley Head, Reprint: London: Penguin Classic, 2001, p. 96
  16. ^ "Стара разгледница Чонграда Tома Црњански добија" (PDF). p. 43. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  17. ^ Begley, Adam (28 November 2008). "Florence, then and Now". The New York Times.

References Edit

External links Edit