Pieve Santo Stefano, the “City of Diary”
Pieve Santo Stefano is one of the main towns of the Tuscan Val Tiberina. This village has an ancient origin: in these parts were found findings of the Neolithic age and remains of the Roman era, as the ruins of some bridges that crossed the Tevere.
Recognized with the name of “Suppetia” at the time of the Lombards, Pieve Santo Stefano, like many other Tuscan towns, has a long series of dominations behind it, culminating with the conquest by Florence. The village reached its maximum splendor at the time of Lorenzo the Magnificent when it was enriched by the works of great artists such as Della Robbia, Piero della Francesca and Ghirlandaio.
Unfortunately, many of these works and most of the buildings that once characterized the village are now lost. Pieve Santo Stefano was in fact affected by dramatic events: in 1855 a flood caused enormous damage and the destruction of several artistic masterpieces, while in 1944 the historic city center was devasted by the German troops. Only the municipal building and the churches survived this barbarism.
Rebuilt in the immediate post-war period, Pieve Santo Stefano was renamed “Città del Diario” (City of the Diary) following the creation in 1984 of the Archivio Diaristico Nazionale (National Diarist Archive), an institution that collects diaries and memoirs from all over Italy.
Best places in Pieve Santo Stefano
- Piccolo Museo del Diario
- Collegiata di Santo Stefano
- Palazzo Comunale
- Santuario della Madonna dei Lumi
- Tempietto di Santa Maria del Colledestro
Piccolo Museo del Diario
Housed inside the Palazzo Pretorio, the Piccolo Museo del Diario was inaugurated in 2013 to recount the memories preserved in the National Archive of the Diary. It is a multimedia path that gives space to the autobiographies of ordinary people like that of Vincenzo Rabito, that inspired a book and a documentary, or that of Clelia Marchi, which was written on a bed sheet after her husband’s death.
Monday – Friday: 9.30-12.30 and 15.00-18.00
Saturday – Sunday: 15.00-18.00
Tickets: full 3 euros; reduced 2 euros
Collegiata di Santo Stefano
The Collegiata di Santo Stefano is the direct descendant of the ancient parish church from which the village takes its name. The current building, built in neo-Romanesque form between 1844 and 1881, preserves an Assumption of Mary between San Francesco, Sant’Antonio da Padova, San Girolamo and Sant’Antonio Abate and a Saint Sebastian at the column, works coming from the Della Robbia workshop. Other Della Robbia works can be admired in the Palazzo Comunale.
Santuario della Madonna dei Lumi
The Santuario della Madonna dei Lumi dates back to the end of the sixteenth century and is characterized by a greek cross plan and an elegant and austere appearance. Inside you can appreciate various works including the high altar, by the Florentine sculptor Pietro Betti and the fresco of the Madonna dei Lumi.
Tempietto di Santa Maria del Colledestro
Documented since the twelfth century, the current Tempio di Santa Maria del Colledestro dates back to the eighteenth century. It is a peculiar octagonal construction located where in antiquity there was a pagan temple dedicated to the river Tiber and its Nymphs, as documented by a Roman epigraph found on site in 1636.
What to see in the surroundings
- Alpe della Luna
- Eremo di Cerbaiolo
In the immediate vicinity you could consider a visit to the vilage of Mignano, an ancient castle of which some of the structures are still preserved. Nature lovers can enjoy the Alpe della Luna Nature Reserve, a large area of Appennine wood that extends between the towns of Pieve Santo Stefano, Badia Tedalda, Sansepolcro and Sestino. Another place to visit in the municipality of Pieve Santo Stefano is the fascinating Eremo di Cerbaiolo which rises in an impervious environment along the route of the Franciscan path that leads from the Santuario della Verna to Assisi.
As for the other towns of the Val Tiberina in addition to the aforementioned Sansepolcro, you must definitely visit the beautiful Anghiari.
How to get to Pieve Santo Stefano
By Car: From Arezzo (50 km): SS73 in the direction of Sansepolcro up to the junction for the E45 to be taken in a northerly direction to the Madonnuccia exit; from there continue on SP 77 up to destination. From Florence it is probably better to reach Arezzo on the motorway and then follow the previous directions.
By Bus: There are some bus lines, such as Sita and Baschetti, which connect Arezzo to Pieve Santo Stefano, while LFI has a line connecting Pieve to Bibbiena.