Fiesole Italy: What kind of Tourist Are You? By Alycia Oliver

When travellers are looking to come to Italy the first on their mind is Florence, Rome, Venice, Milan and maybe the Amalfi Coast. There are many hidden gems in Italy and Fiesole is most definitely one of them. The biggest benefit about Fiesole is that you can stay in the heart of Florence and take just a short 20 min bus ride up the hill to the magical countryside. If you are interested in taking this bus you must get on the number 7, which stops at the Santa Maria Novella railway station and Piazza San Marco.

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First of all, I would like to ask you what type of traveller are you? You may be surprised to know that in fact there are different types of travelers. Here are your options:

  1. Organized Mass Tourist. This is the least adventurous of the bunch. You like you remain within the tourist bubble, and use the itinerary fixed by the tour operators and attend trips out of the complex and organized tours. This is the easy route that most families take if they have a lot of children they are traveling with.
  2. Individual Mass Tourist. These tourist also use facilities made available by tour operators but exercise greater control over their own itinerary. They will typically serve their hotel as a base and arrange private tours or hire a ca for further trips.
  3. Explorer. An attempt to get off the beaten track and experience new places is the main goal. They make their own travel accommodation arrangements and really enjoy experiencing new things.
  4. Drifter. These travellers scorn the tourist bubble and shun contact with mass tourism. They want to immerse themselves directly into the culture and seek for the local spots in their destination. They Actively seek new destinations and are prepared to take risks in experiencing new cultures and places.

I urge you not to be an organized mass tourist, work your way down the ladder and be comfortable with exploring new places! Typically, explorers and drifter tourists will populate Fiesole, as it is not as well known as other larger cities in Italy. Little do most people know Fiesole was an active community before Florence was, with very unique rules! It was said that the women had just as many rights as the men (at this day in age that was very unusual). They could go to the bank, pay for things, work just as hard, and sometimes the men even took care of the children while the women went out hunting for food.  All Florentine history originates in the hills of Fiesole.

This small town in the Tuscany region overlooks the entire city of Florence and was conquered by the romans in the III century BC. In 405 BC everything turned to chaos when the Stillcone defeated the Goths. The reason why this location was so valuable is because it was far enough way from the Arno River, the main form of transportation at the time. This would allow villagers to have a warning when any danger was near. The Ertuscan’s populated Fiesole and many of the remains are still present. With only an 8 euro ticket you are able to see the roman baths, the remains of the roman Etruscan temple, as well as the magnificent theater. What is really special is, to this day you are able to watch classic shows and operas in the roman theater! The capacity is up to around 3000 people. Some of it has been preserved however there are parts that are still untouched.

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Fiesole is small enough to do in a day trip. Here are the main attractions I would jot down to see!

-The Etruscan wall

-Roman baths

-Roman Temple

-Parco Della Rimembranza (best place to enjoy the view)

-Cathedral of Fiesole

-Antique markets (only happen once a month!)

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This list does not include the several points you can enjoy a glass of wine while taking in the view. There are also a couple very beautiful restaurants on the hill tops with the most amazing pasta you will ever taste!  Hopefully this has inspired you to go to the roots of Florence and experience history first hand! Happy travels!

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Calcio Storico Fiorentino: Historical Soccer By Alycia Oliver

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As many of you know, Italians live and breathe soccer. This sport keeps all Europeans on their toes, especially during the world cup. The competition between each country is quite outstanding.  Restaurants and bars play games on their big screen TV’s to attract a large crowd of viewers! In the month of June the Calcio Fiorentino games take place in the Santa Croce Square. Calcio simply means to kick thus, after translation it would the “Florentine kick game”. The history and extraordinary rules of calico fascinates many people, drawing them in to watch the games. Here are a few points to fill you in on the sport.

076340176History- Calcio is an early form of soccer that originated in the 16th Century. It is said to be the game that started out all rugby and football events! Initially, the games were reserved for the wealthy citizens and it was said that even high public figures (such as the popes and royalty) were known to play.  In 1930 the games were back in action after being dormant for two hundred years! I would not be surprised if these games continue for many more centuries- I mean who doesn’t like to watch something historical and full of violence (this is a must see for all men!). To this day men take the game very seriously, dedicating their life once in the timeless arena.

076340626Rules- Here I will discuss the rules or better yet, lack of rules in Calcio. The official rules were first published in 1580. There are three games, each a duration of 50 minutes. The idea is for players to use both their hands and feet to move the ball up and down the field.  Each team must take the ball beyond their opponent’s defense line. One of the only few rules that apply are no sucker-punching and kicks to the head. Head-butting, punching, elbowing and choking are all fair game! Since no substitutions are allowed, this game can get quite bloody. As you can imagine, this is very VERY entertaining.

Teams- There are four teams with 27 players on each. A team that once belonged to the roman gladiators represents each district in Florence. The teams are as follows; Santa Croce (blue team), Santa Maria Novella (red team), Santo Spirito (white team), and San Giovanni (green team). Each team dresses up in some sort of costume to display their pride; of course all in matching team colors.

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The soccer tournament is said to be an honor of San Giovanni, thus the final Calcio game on is June 24th (Florentine holiday for Giovanni). The finals are played during the evening, which is followed by an amazing display of fireworks on the Arno River. Cherishing the ongoing tradition of Calcio Fiorentino, Florence has kept the medieval spirit alive by reliving an event so ancient. To check out the Official Facebook page click here. I will also provide you with a well-filmed video to summarize the games, enjoy!