A long-established Florentine retreat from the summer heat and crowds, FIESOLE spreads over a cluster of hilltops 8km northeast of the city. It predates Florence by several millennia: the Etruscans held out so long up here that the Romans were forced to set up permanent camp in the valley below – thus creating the beginnings of the settlement that was to become Florence. ATAF city bus #7 runs every twenty minutes from Florence's train station to Piazza Mino.
The slightly unkempt-looking central square, Piazza Mino, is named after the fifteenth-century sculptor Mino da Fiesole, who has two fine pieces in the Duomo (daily: summer 7.30am– noon & 3–6pm; winter 7.30am– noon & 2–5pm) that dominates the north side of the square. Nineteenth-century restoration ruined the Duomo's exterior, and the interior is something like a stripped-down version of Florence's San Miniato; the highlight is the Cappella Salutati, to the right of the choir, which contains two fine pieces by Mino – a panel of the Madonna and Saints and the tomb of Bishop Salutati. Behind the Duomo lie the Museo Archeologico (April– Sept 10am–7pm, closed Tues; Oct– March 10am–6pm, closed Tues & Wed; joint ticket, valid one day, covering all Fiesole's museums 13), containing pieces excavated from the Teatro Romano; and the Museo Bandini (same hours), housing a miscellany of medieval Florentine and Tuscan art. Gates give onto the Area Archeologica behind (same hours), featuring the 3000-seat Teatro Romano, a baths complex and an Etruscan temple dedicated to Minerva.