Field Trip to Fiesole

Yesterday, I had a tour of the city with the art history teacher at SACI, so there was a lot of information thrown at me. I took several pictures on this walk:

   
    
    
   
After the tour, I had a meeting in the Batik studio for that class. This studio is a few blocks away from the main SACI building. After that, I got a croissant filled with orangey jam and caffe latte and went to a presentation about the contemporary political context of Italy. My flatmates and I then just wandered around and shopped for a while. The weather was beautiful after a light shower that morning. For dinner, the three of us cooked pasta and ate it while watching The Lizzie McGuire Movie. We thought it would be fitting. 

Today, we went on an optional field trip to Fiesole, about a 15 minute [crowded] bus ride out of the city. It used to be inhabited by the Etruscans, and later the Romans. It was also much bigger and more important than Florence many centuries ago, which is why it has a bishop. Only important places get bishops apparently. 

First, we toured the ruins, which overlooked a beautiful view. It smelled so good because mint was growing everywhere.

 
This was the theatre, built into the side of the hill.

 
  If you look closely, you can see the bell tower ringing for noon mass.
    
These two pictures are of the temple ruins dedicated to the goddess Minerva. 

    
    
    
These pictures are of the area where they had the public baths, one hot and one cold. The ancients thought that a healthy body was key for having a healthy mind.

  

The Roman theater.

  
There were lots of olive trees like this one. Apparently last year there was no olive crop because of a worm, which was disastrous. They looked pretty good this year, though, so fingers crossed for a good crop. They ripen in November, I think.

 
Next, we went into the museum. There were a lot of artifacts that had been found in the excavations. 

   
This was a statue of Isis, the Egyptian goddess of fertility. Apparently there was an Isis cult there, and a few still secretly worshipped her in the Middle Ages.

 
This guy was dug up in the tombs. He was a Longobard warrior who had a lot of health problems. The region of Lombardy (where Milan is located) is named after the Longobards (who were barbarians and had long beards). They wore their hair long in the front and shaved to the nape of the neck in the back, rocking the bob centuries before it was cool. Now whenever I see a mom with that hairstyle, I can’t help but think of the Longobards. 

  
There were many other artifacts in the museum, like this Hellenistic piece. The Etruscans had contact with the Ancient Greeks, as evidenced by some of their artistic styles.

We then took a break to have a snack, and then went into the cathedral. It is a cathedral because it’s the bishop’s church. It is much more modest than the grandiose churches in Florence, but still beautiful.

   
 
This beautiful altarpiece is in the style typical of the early Renaissance. In the Middle Ages, baby Jesus often looked more like an old man, but here he looks more like a baby. 

Apparently a miracle happened downstairs, where someone wouldn’t let a saint drink out of the well and the water turned to blood. Yes, there is a well in this church. 

We then walked up this very steep hill, which I was not prepared for. I must say, the view was worth the effort. You could see the whole city of Florence. If you zoom in on the middle of the picture below, you can see the Duomo.

   
  

Cyprus trees are very typical of the Tuscan countryside. What a romantic view!

  
We stumbled upon a gorgeous couple who had just gotten married. Our big tour group was in the background of some of their wedding pictures, oops, so we’ll probably be hanging in their house soon. We oohed and ahhed at how romantic it was, and they even got a picture with us waving in the background! Then the groom was friendly enough to give us his Facebook name so we could get him to tag us in the photo. Such a charming couple! In the above photo, you can see them walking down the hill. The bride was a trooper walking down in high heels. The VW below was their getaway car.

 
After we got back, I was exhausted, so my flatmates and I got gelato and took a nap. It was a beautiful day with perfect weather. I couldn’t come up with a complaint if I tried.

  

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