Founded in the 7th century BC by the Etruscans, Fiesole was the most important city in northern Etruria and its Area Archeologica, off central square Piazza Mino di Fiesole, provides the perfect flashback. Buy a ticket from the tourist office a couple of doors away, then meander around the ruins of an Etruscan temple, Roman baths and archaeological museum. Later, pause for thought on the stone steps of the 1st-century-BC Roman amphitheatre, the summer stage for Italy's oldest open-air festival, Estate Fiesolana.
Afterwards pop into neighbouring Museo Bandini to view early Tuscan Renaissance art, including fine medallions (c 1505–20) by Giovanni della Robbia and Taddeo Gaddi's luminous Annunciation (1340–45).
From the museum, a 300m walk along Via Giovanni Dupré brings you to the Museo Primo Conti, where the eponymous avant-garde 20th-century artist lived and worked. Inside hang more than 60 of his paintings and the views from the garden are inspiring. Ring to enter.
Meander back to Piazza Mino di Fiesole, host to an antiques market on the first Sunday of each month, where cafe and restaurant terraces tempt. The pagoda-covered terrace of Villa Aurora, around since 1860, is the classic choice for its view. For rustic Tuscan partaken at a shared table, Vinandro is popular, but not a patch on La Reggia degli Etruschi, an outstanding spot with swoon-worthy views where knowing Florentines lunch on Sunday.
Wander around Cattedrale di San Romolo, begun in the 11th century. A glazed terracotta statue of San Romolo by Giovanni della Robbia guards the entrance inside. Afterwards, make your way up steep walled Via San Francesco and be blown away by the staggeringly beautiful panorama of Florence that unfolds from the terrace adjoining 15th-century Chiesa e Convento di San Francesco. Grassy-green afternoon-nap spots abound and the tourist office has brochures outlining walking trails (1km to 3.5km) from here.
Enjoy an aperitivo with Florentines at local hangout JJ Hill, an atmospheric Irish pub with a tip-top beer list, excellent burgers and other quality pub grub. Or fire up the romantic in you with a 2½-hour, 21km guided bike ride (€50 including bike hire) at sunset back to Florence with FiesoleBike, a creative bike-rental and guiding outfit run with passion by local Fiesole lad Giovanni Crescioli (a qualified biking and hiking guide to boot). His 'sunset' tour departs daily from Piazza Mino di Fiesole at 5pm in season; book in advance online.