Valdarno
Valdarno

Visiting Montevarchi in province of Arezzo

Guide to visit Montevarchi

Montevarchi is an important town ioof the Valdarno Superiore located in the valley bottom along the left bank of the Arno.
The origin and development of this hamlet can be traced in the Middle Ages. In fact, even if this area was already inhabited before the year 1000, and probably also during the Roman age, Montevarchi developed starting since the 13th century when began to assert its role as a market under the close and oldest castle that was the property of the family Bourbon before and of the Counts Guidi then.

In 1248 Montevarchi was involved in an important historical episode when his lord, Guido Guerra, defeated in battle the imperial army of Frederick II. After this triumph, Guido Guerra was nomiated Captain General of the Holy Roman Church by Pope Innocent IV. Other achievements, this time in the service of Charles of Anjou, earned to Guido War a relic related to Mary traditionally preserved into the chiesa di San Lorenzo in Montevarchi.

Few years later the heirs of Guido Guerra sold the castle and the market of Montevarchi to Firenze. Duraning the florentine domination, Montevarchi became an increasingly important market and even today the village retains its mercantile vocation to which have been added also other industrial and productive activities.

Things to do in Montevarchi: best places to visit

Montevarchi has a fine “almond-shaped” historical city centre where are located many monuments and some interesting museums:

  • “Il Cassero per la scultura” Museum
  • Paleontological Museum
  • Collegiata di San Lorenzo
  • Museum of Sacred Art
  • Chiesa di Santa Maria al Giglio

Il Cassero per la scultura Museum

From the train station of Montevarchi, you can quickly get to the downtown by feet. The first interesting place we meet is the Cassero, one of the main defensive structures of Montevarchi and one of the very few bulwarks survived till today. The Cassero today hosts an Art Museum entirely dedicated to sculpture, called Il Cassero per la scultura, where are exposed hundreds of artworks produced with all those materials are typical of traditional sculpture as terracotta, plaster, bronze, marble and wood. The collection is composed by the works of various italian artists, some born in Montevarchi, made since the 19th century.

Address: via Trieste 1

Opening hours:
September – May: thursday-sunday: 10.00-13.00 and 15.00-18.00
June- August: 10.00-13.00 and 16.00-19.00

Tickets: regular 4 euro; reduced 2 euro; schools 1 euro; free over 65, disabled and possessors of Edumusei Card.

Web site

Things to do in Montevarchi: visit the Cassero
The Cassero of Montevarchi (Photo by Sailko / CC BY)

Paleontological Museum

The Paleontological Museum of Montevarchi is in via Poggio Bracciolini, halfway btween the Cassero and the main plaza, piazza Varchi. The museum ha a big collection composed by more than 2600 findings, mostly coming from the Valdarno Superiore, from the plio-Pleistocene age (from 3.000.000 to 100.000 years ago). Among the many fossils are particularly impressive those realed to the gigantic mammoth Mammuthus meridionalis.

Opening hours:
September – May: thursday-sunday: 10.00-13.00 and 15.00-18.00
June – August: thursday: 10.00-19.00; friday-sunday: 10.00-13.00 and 16.00-19.00

Tickets: regular 6 euro; reduced 3 euro; schools 2 euro; families 12 euro; free till 5 years old, tourist guide, disabled etc.

Web site

Things to do in Montevarchi: visit the Palonteological Museum
Palonteological Museum (Photo by museopaleontologicomontevarchi.it)

Collegiata di San Lorenzo

Once you arrive in piazza Varchi, you’ll find on the left, standing next to each other, the Palazzo del Podestà and the Collegiata di San Lorenzo. Documented since the 13th century, this church was completeley remodeled during the 18th century; among the many artworks inside, stand out those located above the main altar as the sculptural group by Giovanni Baratta, Glory fo the Virgin with Child. Just below, two Angels are depicted in the Act of covering with a drape a wooden panel behind which houses the Relic of the sacred milk.

Things to do in Montevarchi: visit the Collegiata di San Lorenzo
Collegiata di San Lorenzo (Photo by Sailko / CC BY)

Museo di Arte Sacra della Collegiata di San Lorenzo

The Museum of Sacred Art of Montevarchi is located just next the Collegiata di San Lorenzo. It is a small museum, only two room, but it preserves some remarkable art works. In the first room are exposed some miniated manuscript, a couple of frescoes and some precius jewellery as the Processional Cross created by Pietro di M. Spigliati and the Reliquary of the Sacred Milk. The second room preserves some terracotte, in particular the Tempietto Robbiano, a real masterpiece attributed to Andrea Della Robbia.

Address: via Isidoro del Lungo 4

Opening hours: thursday 10.00–12.00; saturday-sunday 10.00–12.00 and 16.00–18.00

Tickets: regular 3 euro; reduced 1 euro; free over 65

Web site

Montevarchi Museum of Sacred Art - Andrea-della Robbia - Tempietto della reliquia del sacro latte
Museum of Sacred Art of Montevarchi (Photo by Sailko / CC BY)

Chiesa della Madonna del Giglio

Finally we move outside the city centre, beyond the train station in via Burzagli where does a fine show the XVI century chiesa della Madonna del Giglio.Surrounded on three sides by a beautiful portico,the church preserve some 17th century paintings from the florentine school and a fresco (beginning of the 15th century), Madonna with Child and Saints Peter and John. This fresco, depicting the Madonna breastfeeding, is particularly revered because is linked to a miraculous apparition happened in 1585.

Chiesa di Santa Maria al Giglio in Montevarchi - Fresco
The Fresco (Photo by Rossi Elio / CC BY)



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