For anyone wanting to escape the swarming hordes of tourists in Florence’s city center, relief is a short bus ride away. That is, once you find the bus. According to the internet and a guide book, City Bus #7 picked up outside Santa Maria Novella train station. Turns out, the stop had been relocated months or even years ago. Sometimes being a tourist is more like being a detective.
Thanks to Bobby, we found the stop, and soon we were on the bus, zipping up the hills to Fiesole.
We spent the day looking at churches and walking around the hills of Tuscany. The weather was splendid. At lunchtime, we sat outside and I was comfortable in just my turtleneck.
We had the chance to inspect olive trees up close. This was the first time I’d seen olives growing on a tree. Jesse persuaded me to taste one, even though I knew they wouldn’t taste good before being cured. It was disgusting, but at least now I know.
This nun reclining on the wall and taking in the view seemed to capture the essence of Tuscany. She was radiating peace and serenity.
She also sensed that Jesse was taking her picture and smiled obligingly.
Kellie set up her camera to take a picture of all four of us:
We spent quite a bit of time at the Convent of San Francesco. The interior of the church was tranquil, small, and relatively plain.
We could peek into the monks’ cells, including San Bernardino of Siena’s. One of his miracles was prematurely aging because he was so devout. According to Wikipedia, he caught the plague but survived, which may also have affected his aging.
I could imagine the monks walking through the cloisters and sitting in their cells praying.
The convent also housed a small museum that included Etruscan and Roman artifacts found in Fiesole, an Egyptian mummy, and objects from China. (The mummy and the Chinese pieces were brought back from missions by the Franciscans.)
We passed more churches tucked away in the hills.
The silvery leaves of the trees in an olive grove were breathtaking.
I really should just let the pictures speak for themselves: a day full of sunshine, nature, and historic churches is hard to top.
Fore more pictures of Fiesole, please check out these blogs: