Florence or Fiesole - Where to stay?

Feb 2nd, 2009, 06:17 PM
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Florence or Fiesole - Where to stay?

Hello! My husband and I are planning a 2+ week trip to Italy in September. We are planning on hitting the usual destinations of Rome, Florence, Venice and Cinque Terre.

Florence will be where we spend most of our time. I studied abroad there years ago and I am familiar with the city and the surrounding towns (Sienna, San G., Orvieto, etc.)

My question for the board is whether I should look for accommodations in Firenze or Fiesole... I want my husband to get a little taste of a smaller town atmosphere, but I don't think we will have time to do any day trips to any of the cities I mentioned above. However, perhaps Fiesole has become more touristy than when I was in Florence 8 years ago? Also, we plan on spending much of our time in Florence, and so maybe it doesn't make sense to be taking the bus to and fro everyday.

As you can tell, I am very undecided and can list pros and cons for each option. Any advice from someone who has been there recently would be greatly appreciated.

lightfoot33 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 06:48 PM
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Isn't Fiesole only 20 min. or so by bus.from the center of Florence?
IMO Florence IS a rather small town.
We visited Fiesole for an afternoon, but there was nothing there( except a nice view) that would make me wish to stay longer.
danon is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 06:53 PM
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I would only stay up in Fiesole if I had a guaranteed open view from my windows, preferably with a balcony, that would be beautiful if I wasn't intending to spend much time down in Florence anyway. Maybe for a writing assignment or something creative like that.

But the thought of commuting on a full bus every day with all the poor souls who are going to work, instead of staying down in Florence and simply walking out the door into that awesome city - I couldn't stand that.

But you already seem to know the pros and cons - you've outlined them, so the decision is totally yours.
DalaiLlama is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 03:26 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. Danon, I agree with you that Florence is small -- geographically speaking. But I thought Fiesole might be a nice way to see a less crowded side to the city, without really leaving Florence.

I don't really have anything to compare it to... other than when we traveled to Australia and stayed in Manly... We liked a smaller scene for our home base, even though we went into the city (Sydney) most every day via Ferry.

I think that I am leaning towards staying in Florence. Perhaps if my husband had been there before, I might try Fiesole, but since he is seeing the city (and Italy) for the first time, I guess he should really be in the heart of it.

lightfoot33 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 03:50 AM
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I would suggest staying right in the heart of the historic district. It is wonderful toget up in the morning and just start walking liesurely around with everything within a 10 min. walk. We liked staying atthe Hotel Pendini on the Republica Square. Very affordable and great staff. Look up WWW.Florenceitaly.net, theier phone number is 39-055-211-170. If you are driving into the city remember to hurray and tell the hotel upon arrival so they can have someone come and park it away for you as you can get a ticket for driving in the historical section, but the police are very understanding with tourist.
Kgirten is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 03:50 AM
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hi lightfoot,

unless you have some very strong reason for not staying in florence itself, i honestly can't see much point i staying in fiesole, though it makes a very nice day trip.

you can get a bus from piazza san marco [try to get there early enough to see the Fra angelico museum, only open in the mornings] which takes about 30 minutes. once there, walk left from the bus stop and up the hill up to the monastery of san francis, from which there is a terrific view over Florence.

although the monastery doesn't look much, you can look round the monks' cells, and then through the church there is a lovely nativity, and downstairs a fascinating museum full of artifacts brought back by the monks on their travels. and it's free.

then instead of walking back down the hill, if you head across the grass you will come to a path throguh some gardens, which brings you back to a road near the roman remains [turn right away from the municple buildings] which have a well-preserved theatre an an interesting museum.

finally, there is a nice restaurant just outside the museum, under the tress, though a better view of Florence can be obtained from the bar on the opposuite side of the road, just by t hebus stop where you got off.

Finally, before you get the bus back down, don't miss the cathedral which I seem to remember had a very interesting mosaic floor.

When you get back to Florence, if you exit the square by the other corner away from via cavour, you are right by the accademia museum, and with any luck by that time all the crowds will have gone and you will have David all to yourself. there is a little supermarket opposite which sells, amongst other things, frozen octopus. yum.

have a great trip,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 04:14 AM
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Thanks everyone for the additional feedback -- this is why I love this forum! I now feel certain that we should stay in Florence. You all make great points and I can't agree more.
lightfoot33 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 05:05 AM
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Maybe compromise and stay in the Oltrarno--a little quieter but still walkable and convenient to many sights and good restaurants.
ellenem is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 05:11 AM
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Definitely stay in Florence. On our first trip to Florence we stayed in Florence for three nights and then moved to Villa San Michele in Fiesole for two nights. Even with shuttle service getting to Florence was a nuisance.
Marija is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 05:20 AM
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When I studied abroad, our pensione was on S. Spirito square, so I am personally very partial to the Oltrarno area. I definitely will look into some accommodations in this area.
lightfoot33 is offline  

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