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Fiesole and sua fata 15/04/2011

Posted by florencecapital in Uncategorized.
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c. 1905

Cities, as we know, habent sua fata. Neither peace, nor the straw-plaiting industry, nor the electric tramway, nor universal conscription has made Fiesole more humane. The piazza was all a scurry of litter, and chickens, and country omnibuses; the boys pursued me with stones and savage yells; the fierce-eyed girls glowered at me from under the pents of their towzled hair; matrons, secure from all curiosity, continued to smack their children’s posteriors, whether I drove out with two horses or two-and-twenty. And the aspect of the town! Could any little place be so close to a great one and borrow so little from it? How harsh a tower! What a chill upon the windy streets! Good limewash is in all; and yet in Fiesole it takes a cold tone, where in Florence and Pistoia it seems to be incandescent – as if the sun, having soaked it for centuries, had saturated it, until his light was rayed forth like heat from hot iron. Withal, a town superbly placed: fine as it is from across the valley, it is perhaps finer from behind. Beyond it, in a cypress wood, the road forks, and, taking the left to go to Borgo San Lorenzo, you will find that it winds round the outside face of a steep hill, and gives you a new Fiesole, gleaming white now between its two rocks and their citadels, and the Arno valley beyond it, sheeted in mist, looking like a sea at dawn.

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