The village of Subbiano in the province of Arezzo
Subbiano is a small town in the province of Arezzo, located in the southernmost part of the Casentino. The inhabited center develops along the course of the Arno about 12 kilometers away from Arezzo. It is an interesting position because it is located on the outskirts of the Casentino and a stone’s throw from Arezzo. In the area there are many opportunities for hiking in nature and many interesting places to visit.
The Subbiano area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The most ancient finds even date back to a period between 3000 and 1000 BC. Here, on the Alpe di Catenaia, there lived tribes who made their living from agriculture and livestock.
The name Subbiano almost certainly has Latin origin even if there are different interpretations on its meaning. Among these, one wants that Subbiano derives from “Sub Jano”, a name that would indicate how the city was placed under the protection of Janus, a divinity present in the Roman religion.
In medieval times the village was owned by the noble Grifone di Grifone who ceded it to Albertino, progenitor of the Albertini Counts of Chitignano, in 1119. The Albertini, however, had to divide the village with the Counts Guidi who had obtained half of it in privilege from the Emperor Henry IV; the same privilege was also confirmed by Frederick II in 1220.
The Tarlati di Pietramala followed the Counts Guidi, until Pier Saccone, brother of Bishop Guido Tarlati, submitted it to Florence.
In 1343, Subbiano managed to break away from the Florentine Republic. This situation did not last long and in the year 1384, together with the conquest of Arezzo, Florence also managed to regain possession of Subbiano.
What to do in Subbiano
The historic center of Subbiano develops along the left bank of the Arno river. The city is immersed in a beautiful landscape, surrounded by hills covered with green woods. The surrounding countryside is well maintained and cultivated mostly with olive groves and vineyards (Moscatello di Subbiano is produced here). In the city, walking among old stone houses and ancient mills you can admire the medieval castle, the Palazzo del Podestà, the church of Santa Maria and some historic buildings such as Palazzo Ducci and Palazzo Subiani-Ducci.
Castle of Subbiano
The Castle of Subbiano is located right in the heart of the historic center of the village. It is not known for sure when it was built, but we do know that it is documented at least since the year 1000. The castle overlooks the river directly and it is no coincidence because in medieval times one of its main functions was to control a bridge that it was used to cross the Arno.
The castle was partly rebuilt in the twentieth century and a crenellated tower, some sections of the defensive walls and a pointed arch where the entrance door was located, is preserved from its original structure. From the top of the tower you can enjoy a beautiful view over the roofs of the city and the surrounding hills.
Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione
Overlooking a beautiful panoramic terrace, the Church of Santa Maria della Visitazione is located right in front of the Castle of Subbiano. The church was built in the fourteenth century to replace the previous castle church which had now become inadequate due to its small size. Over the centuries this church was also enlarged and remodeled several times until it reached its current forms. The current building has a gabled facade preceded by a beautiful portico, and inside it develops on a single nave ending in an apse.
The Church of Santa Maria preserves some interesting works. such as the seventeenth-century wooden crucifix considered miraculous by the faithful of Subbiano and the painting depicting the Infant Jesus appearing to San Giuseppe attributed to Pietro Castellucci. Finally, under the portico, there is the statue of Don Lorenzo Boschi, founder of the Subbiano Hospital, created by Arnaldo Zocchi.
What to see around Subbiano
Subbiano is located in Casentino which is a land of medieval castles. In addition to the one located in the historic center of the village, there are two others located in the immediate vicinity.
The first is located in Castelnuovo di Subbiano, a couple of kilometers further south than the historic center of Subbiano. With its bulk and its mighty tower, the castle is clearly visible even from afar also because it stands on a relief from which it controls the valley below. Its appearance betrays Renaissance forms even if its origin is much older as we have news of it since 1022.
The second castle is the magnificent Castello di Valenzano which is located 7 kilometers north of Subbiano. Rebuilt in 1870 in neo-Gothic style, the castle is now used mainly as a venue for events and conferences; inside there is also a restaurant.
In the municipal area of Subbiano there are also small villages that can represent a good opportunity for a small detour. One of these is Falciano which is located along the road to Alpe di Catenaia. Being at an altitude of 500 meters above sea level, it is able to offer a little coolness during the summer season.
Alpe di Catenaia is an excellent choice for those who want to take a long walk in the open air. Characterized by a very varied flora with large chestnut and beech woods, the Casentino mountain is a real spectacle of nature.
Casentino is really full of interesting places to visit. Among the villages I point out Poppi with its extraordinary castle, Bibbiena, Stia and Raggiolo. Also not to be missed are the Castle and Parish Church of Romena, the Hermitage of Camaldoli, the Sanctuary of La Verna and the Castle of Porciano.
Events in Subbiano
In Subbiano there is that typical atmosphere of medieval villages which is further enhanced in July when the Cena Medievale nel Borgo (Medieval Dinner) is organized. On this occasion you can eat typical Casentino dishes, surrounded by figures, musicians and jesters. A second opportunity to try local products is the Festa dell’Uva (Grape Festival) which takes place in September.
How to get to Subbiano
Subbiano is quite easy to reach because it is located on the Regional Road 71 which connects Arezzo and the Casentino. The city also has a railway station which is regularly served by regional trains traveling on the Casentino line. To get to Subbiano from Arezzo it takes about 20 minutes both by train and by car. If you come from other cities in Tuscany, it is probably better to reach Arezzo and then continue on the SR71 to your destination.