The Casentino, a wild and spiritual land

Surrounded by mountains and by green woods, the Casentino valley is located in the eastern part of Tuscany, east of Florence and north of Arezzo. The valley develops close between the Pratomagno mountains and the Apennines which mark the border with Emilia Romagna. At the center flows the Arno river that rises on Monte Falterona which is located a little further north.

The Casentino is appreciated for its extraordinary natural heritage, its forests are certainly among the most important in all of Tuscany. The large chestnut, beech, oak and fir woods that make up the Casentino forest are in fact protected today through the Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi.

With its forests the Casentino is the ideal destination for nature lovers and hiking and trekking enthusiasts, but the valley also has much more to offer: here are some of the most important places of faith in the whole region such as the Eremo di Camaldoli, the mother house of the Camaldolese order, the SSantuario della Verna, where San Francesco received the stigmata and the beautiful Pieve di Romena, a magnificent example of Romanesque architecture.

The Middle Ages here have left truly indelible traces. Long dominated by the Guidi counts, the Casentino is full of medieval castles including those of Romena, Porciano and Poppi, which can easily be defined as one of the most beautiful and important in all of Tuscany. Even in its hamlets you can catch the charm of the past. The main ones are Bibbiena, Poppi, Stia, Pratovecchio, Ortignano and Raggiolo, without forgetting also Cetica, Castel San Niccolò and Strada in Casentino.

However, the history of the Casentino did not begin with the Middle Ages. The archaeological excavations carried out at the Lago degli Idoli have returned one of the most conspicuous testimonies on the culture and spirituality of the Etruscan world.

Casentino is also a land with a great culinary culture, strongly linked to local products and the peasant tradition; in this regard, I also point out the interesting EcoMuseo della Castagna which is located in Raggiolo. Craftsmanship is another flagship of the Casentino. Among the many local processes, the panno casentino stands out; this is a traditional woolen fabric, typically orange or green, used to make winter coats.