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. The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio is set in the slopes of Fiesole. The city was equally featured in the novels Peter Camenzind (1904) by Hermann Hesse and A Room with a View (1908) by E. M. Forster, and in the book of travel essays Italian Hours (1909) by Henry James.[3]

Città di Fiesole
The hills of Fiesole overlooking Florence
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; 11.29194Coordinates: 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 14th century, the city has always been considered a getaway for 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.[4] 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.[5]

Fiesole is a centre of higher education. The campus of the European University Institute is situated in the suburb and utilises several historical buildings including the Badia Faesolina and the Villa Schifanoia. Additionally, American universities Harvard University, Georgetown University, and Saint Mary's University of Minnesota all have their centres of Italian Renaissance Studies domiciled in Fiesole.[6][7]


Excavation of the former Etruscan-Roman temple in Fiesole

Fiesole (Etruscan Viesul, Viśl, Vipsul) was probably founded in the 9th–8th century BC, as it was an important member of the Etruscan confederacy, as may be seen from the remains of its ancient walls.

The first recorded mention of the town dates to 283 BC, when the town, then known as Faesulae, was conquered by the Romans. In antiquity, it was the seat of a famous school of augurs, and every year twelve young men were sent thither from Rome to study the art of divination. Sulla colonized it with veterans, who afterwards, under the leadership of Gaius Mallius, supported the cause of Catilina.[8][9]

Fiesole was the scene of Stilicho's great victory over the Germanic hordes of the Vandals and Suebi under Radagaisus in 406.[10] During the Gothic War (536–553) the town was several times besieged. In 539 Justin, the Byzantine general, captured it and razed its fortifications.

A 14th-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, before it was conquered by Florence in 1125, and its leading families 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).[11]

By the 14th 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.[12]

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.[13]

Main sitesEdit

  • Remnants of Etruscan walls.
  • Roman baths.
  • Roman theatre.
  • Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall) of the 14th century.
  • The cathedral of Fiesole (Il Duomo), containing the shrine of St. Romulus, martyr, according to legend the first Bishop of Fiesole, and that of his martyred companions, also the shrine of St. Donatus of Fiesole.
  • 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, 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, which 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.
Villa San Michele (after drawings by Michelangelo)
Piazza Mino

In the neighbourhood 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 residentsEdit

In artEdit

See alsoEdit


  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. ^ Begley, Adam (28 November 2008). "Florence, then and Now". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Fiesole | Italy | Britannica".
  5. ^ "Blog | Dove vivono i più ricchi d'Italia? La classifica dei Comuni". 4 August 2016.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  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. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Dante in Love, A.N. Wilson, p. 71 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2011)
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Lumsden, Susan (29 May 1988). "A Village of Cypress and Vines". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, New York City: The Bodeley Head, Reprint: London: Penguin Classic, 2001, p. 96
  15. ^ "Стара разгледница Чонграда Tома Црњански добија" (PDF). p. 43. Retrieved 16 May 2020.


External linksEdit