Our final day in Florence and we woke to rain showers. Not to be deterred we walked to the Santa Novella railway station and caught a No.7 bus to the small Tuscan hilltop town of Fiesole. It is simple to get there as buses leave every 30 minutes and the scenic, uphill journey takes only 20 minutes.
We alighted from the bus in the main square and after collecting a walking map from the tourist information office we followed a hiking trail up to the Monastery of San Francisco. It’s a fairly steep climb but we are rewarded with some fine views from the hilltop. Retracing our steps back to the main square we took a look at the beautiful Roman amphitheatre and baths, then nearby the stunning Villa Medici. Back in the village centre we enjoyed cappuccinos in one of the small cafes surrounding the square. It was very tranquil sitting there away from the hordes of tourists in the nearby city of Florence.
We took the bus back to the city centre and walked along the banks of the River Arno, crossing over the Ponte Vecchio which is seemingly always crowded with tourists. On the far side of the river we visited the Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) an elaborate Romanesque palace, formerly the residence of the grand Dukes of Tuscany and later the home of the King of Italy and now a fine arts museum. Adjacent to the palace lies the Boboli Gardens, one of the earliest examples of Italian gardens with fountains.
We had dinner in the city centre and then gathered together our belongings in readiness for our departure in the morning.