The Hills of Florence: Fiesole and Michelangelo square
- Michelangelo Square
- San Miniato
.. Tired of rushing from one monument to the next on your Italian 'Grand Tour'?
.. Not in the mood for walking ?
It is not a coincidence if the old guidebooks advised the visitors to remain in Florence for at least ten days and take a leisurely tour! Now visitors try to squeeze it all into one or two days often with the result that, instead of being enlightened, they're merely exhausted.
You can enjoy the beauty of the Florentine skyline and the Tuscan landscape on this driving tour, halfway between city and country, with your guide and a minivan at your disposal, in full respect of the pace of your holiday.
The slow climb of the road leading to this incredible panorama, one of the most famous sights in the world, gives us a true sense of the rural Tuscan landscape where austere architectural style blends in perfectly with the rolling countryside scattered with cypresses and olive groves.
During our drive we will pass next to the villa that housed Galileo Galilei during the last part of his life, in almost complete isolation due to the sentence of the Sant'Uffizio.
Our first stop is the famous panoramic terrace overlooking Florence, Michelangelo Sq. from where we'll explain the evolution and the development of the city center.
The breathtaking Basilica of S. Miniato is just 5 minutes away, dedicated to a local martyr, and considered a real architectural jewel, because of its elegant two color marble façade and the golden splendour of its mosaics.
The serene elegance of the interior was inspired by the harmony of Classical architecture, in fact 'recycling' capitals and columns from old Roman buildings was very common in Romanesque architecture all over Europe.
Right in front of S. Miniato is the monumental cemetery where the author of Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi, is buried, among other illustrious Florentines.
A fun fact: when Florence was besieged by the army of the Emperor Charles V, the church's massive bell-tower was also used for defensive purposes by Michelangelo, who was a military architect of the Florentine Republic at the time. In order to diminish the damage from stone cannon balls fired by the Imperial artillery, he had a layer of mattresses tied around the outside of the bell-tower and this unusual do-it-yourself project worked marvelously!
Afterwards our driver will bring us to the Duomo, the religious center of Florence, one of the most impressive places in Italy. The Square is composed of the Romanesque Baptistery, with its famous Paradise Gates, that Michelangelo himself considered a model worth being studied, Giotto's bell tower, a real open air figurative encyclopedia of the Medieval life and culture.
The Cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, built in almost 150 years and topped by Brunelleschi's spectacular Dome, is the focal point of the Florentine skyline.
Our drive then will go on through a continuously changing landscape towards the village of Fiesole where we'll see a different view point of the city center. We can visit the local XI Century Cathedral and, if you like, the most important Roman ruins of the area, the well preserved Theatre, and the Spa, both dating back to the 1st Century A.D.
Our driver then will bring us back to downtown Florence, to leave you where you prefer, either in the city's shopping area or at your Hotel.