Civitella in Val di Chiana, a castle between Siena and Arezzo
The Val di Chiana is an area full of very intersting hamlets and Civitella in Val di Chiana is one of those. Located near Arezzo (only 20 kilometres far), Civitella has had a somewhat strategic relevance because of its position on the road from Arezzo to Siena. This region was inhabited since Roman times, but Civitella has grown only since the Middle Ages.
The main building is the castle. At the beginning there was a fortress built built during the Lognobard domination. Then, in 11th century the village became part of the possessions of the bishops of Arezzo and in 13th century it was involved into the war between Arezzo and Siena. During this war the fortress was destroyed and later rebuilt by the bishop Guglielmino degli Ubertini (1272). After the historic win in the battle of Campaldino in 1289, Florence began to fight with Arezzo for the control of the village finally conquered in 1348.
Coming to our age, we must remember what happened during the World War II. During the conflict the hamlet was bombed and there were many casualties and damages. But that’s not all… on June 29, 1944, the nazis killed 244 civilians; that massacre is known as the “Eccidio di Civitella“.
Civitella in Val di Chiana what to see
Civitella still has much of its defensive walls (12th century) an one of the medieval city gates, porta Senese. Past the door you step onto the left along the structures of the castle that you can access from the nearby piazza Becattini. On this road there is a Della Robbia’s polychrome majolica tabernacle, representing the Madonna with Child.
Among the many disasters of the war, there are also the heavy damages suffered by this ancient fortress. Today we can see only some of its medieval defensive structure and a huge tower in ruins.
The hamlet of Civitella in Val di Chiana
Now get back in Piazza Becattini and continue our visit in via Martiri di Civitella; here we meet the palazzo Pretorio (14th-15th century) easy recognizable thanks to the many coat of arms on the facade. This palace is the first of many colonnaded buildings that bring us to Piazza Don Alcide Lazzeri, the main square of Civitella in Val di Chiana. Piazza Lazzeri is a wide and pleasant square with an octagonal cistern a created during the Middle Ages. At the end of the square stands the chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta; documented since the 11th century, the church was renovated many times. On its left a monument commemorate what happened on June 29, 1944.
The museums of Civitella in Val di Chiana
Between 2004 and 2006 there were inaugurated two new museums, both located in via Martiri di Civitella. The firts one is the Sala della Memoria (hall of memory) which retains many testimonies such as documents, photographs, books and much more about the events that took place in 1944. The second museum is the Pinacoteca d’arte contemporanea; created in 2006, exposes modern paintings and sculptures made over the last 50 years.
How to get to Civitella in Val di Chiana
By train and bus: the closest train station is in Arezzo; from there, you have to take the bus LS2 till Badia al Pino and a second bus LS1 till Civitella (Etruria Mobilità bus services).
By car: highway A1 till the exit Arezzo, then continue on Strada Provinciale 21 in direction of Badia al Pino and Civitella.