5 hamlets to see in the province of Arezzo
The province of Arezzo extends into the easternmost part of Tuscany and borders the provinces of Florence and Siena. In the northernmost part is the Casentino with its pristine forests, to the south the Val di Chiana a land inhabited since the time of the Etruscans, to the west the Valdarno and to the east the Val Tiberina. Arezzo is a very beautiful city rich in history and traditions but also the villages scattered throughout its province are no less. In the various areas that make up this large slice of Tuscany there are dozens of small towns of great flavor that deserve to be visited one by one. Today we will see only some of the most beautiful villages in the province of Arezzo, but I hope they are a boost to visit many others as well.
The first stop of this virtual tour in the province of Grosseto is the beautiful village of Poppi in Casentino. If you are fond of the Middle Ages, Poppi is a destination not to be missed. Long dominated by the powerful Conti Guidi family, who had various possessions in the area and beyond, the city has one of the most beautiful and best preserved castles in all of Tuscany. Although remodeled over the centuries, the Castello dei Conti Guidi has all the characteristics one would expect to find in a medieval castle: solid walls, battlements, towers and a moat; in short, nothing is missing! Inside is the Museo della Battaglia di Campaldino, dedicated to the famous battle between Florence and Arezzo which proved decisive for the fate of the region. In the town there are also the church of San Fedele and the church of the Madonna del Morbo to be seen. In the municipal area of Poppi, the Eremo di Camaldoli, one of the most important places of faith in all of Tuscany, is certainly worth a visit. If you are a nature lover, on the other hand, I recommend that you reach the Parco nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi.
For the second stage we move from Casentino to Val Tiberina where there is another truly remarkable medieval hamlet: Anghiari. Tuscany throughout the Middle Ages was the scene of numerous battles. One of these is the battle of Anghiari, which was won by Florence. To celebrate the success, the Florentines commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to create a large fresco in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio. The work, however, suffered damage and was replaced or perhaps simply covered with a new fresco by Vasari. Stories and legends still circulate about the lost work of the great Leonardo, but the great work was probably never realized. If the history of the battle has intrigued you, I suggest you visit the Museo della Battaglia e di Anghiari. Another museum to see is the Museo Statale di Palazzo Taglieschi where you can admire various works of sacred art. The other main monuments are the Palazzo Pretorio, the church of Sant’Agostino and the Badia di San Bartolomeo.
According to legend, the origin of Sansepolcro is linked to the construction of a chapel created to house some relics from the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. The city experienced a great period of development between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries mainly thanks to trade. That was a real golden age for Sansepolcro which was filled with valuable monuments and works of art. In 1416 the city also saw the birth of the great Piero della Francesca, one of the most important painters of the Italian Renaissance. You can admire some of his works, together with those of other masters such as Pontormo, in the Museo Civico di Sansepolcro. Also very interesting is the Aboca Museum, dedicated to the history of herbal medicine and the Museo della vetrata antica, about ancient stained glass. Among the monuments not to be missed are the Duomo and the church of San Lorenzo which preserve several artistic masterpieces and the Fortezza Medicea which was designed by the great architect Giuliano da San Gallo.
We leave the Val Tiberina to reach the Val di Chiana and in particular Castiglion Fiorentino. Situated on a hill from which it enjoys a beautiful panoramic view over the valley and the surrounding hills, Castiglion Fiorentino is a village rich in history that began to develop since the Etruscan era. The center has a high value also from a tourist point of view as certified by the Bandiera Arancione of the Italian Touring Club. There is no shortage of monuments and museums as well as historical re-enactments and events that animate the historic center during the year. The main points of interest are the Torre del Cassero dating back to the 14th century, the elegant Logge del Vasari in the town hall square and the church of San Francesco. Among the museums, do not miss the Pinacoteca and the Museo Civico Archeologico which reconstructs the history of the area from the Etruscan era to the end of the Middle Ages.
Cortona is one of the most famous and most beautiful villages in all of Tuscany. It is an ancient city which according to tradition was the birthplace of Dardano, the founder of the ancient city of Troy. What is certain is that the city was very rich and powerful in the Etruscan era and in fact there is no lack of archaeological evidence relating to this historical period. In this regard, you cannot miss a visit to the Accademia Etrusca where, among the various finds, the famous Tabula Cortonensis is exhibited, one of the largest inscriptions in the Etruscan language that have come down to us. Cortona has certainly not exhausted itself with the Etruscans. In the city there are many medieval monuments such as the Palazzo Comunale, the Duomo and the church of San Francesco. Do not miss the Museo Diocesano and the Fortezza del Girifalco which dominates the whole city from the top of a hill.