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Arezzo, Arezzo Province

AREZZO | TUSCANY

Arezzo Tuscany

Arezzo is a city situated in the middle of the Tiber Valley in eastern Tuscany, and is the capital of the Arezzo Province. The town still overlooks the important lines of communication which since ancient times have been the main reason for the development of the town's economic activities. Arezzo is located at on a steep hill rising from the floodplain of the River Arno. In the upper part of the town are the cathedral, the town hall and the Medici Fortress (Fortezza Medicea), from which the main streets branch off towards the lower part as far as the gates. The upper part of the town maintains its medieval appearance despite the addition of later structures.

GETTING TO THE TOWN OF AREZZO

Arezzo (Latin Arretium) is the capital of the central Italian province of the same name, located in the Region of Tuscany, Italy. Arezzo is about 80 km (50 miles) south-east of Florence, at an elevation of 296 m above sea level, and can easily be visited during a single day excursion by anyone vacationing in the Chianti wine zone or the Valley of the Orcia. Arezzo is set on a steep hill rising from the floodplain of the Arno. In the upper part of the town are the cathedral, the town hall and the Medici Fortress (Fortezza Medicea), from which the main streets branch off towards the lower part as far as the gates. The upper part of the town maintains its mediaeval aspect despite the addition of later structures.

Arezzo may have been one of the twelve most important Etruscan cities, the Etruscan Dodecapolis. It was described by Livy as one of the Capitae Etruriae (chief Etruscan cities). Etruscan remains establish that the acropolis of San Cornelio, a small hill next to that of San Donato, was occupied and fortified in the Etruscan period. There is other significant Etruscan evidence, parts of walls, an Etruscan necropolis on Poggio del Sole (still named "Hill of the Sun" ), and most famously, the two bronzes, the "Chimera of Arezzo" (5th century BC) and the "Minerva" (4th century BC) which were discovered in the 16 C and taken to Florence. Increasing trade connections with Greece also brought some elite goods to the Etruscan nobles of Arezzo: the krater painted by Euphronios ca 510 BCE with a battle against Amazons (in the Museo Civico) is unsurpassed.

WHAT TO SEE IN AREZZO

  • Most visits will start in the Piazza Grande, the large central square in Arezzo, with many of the most important buildings around the square and surrounding streets. We explore some of the highlights of the town:
  • Church of San Francesco, built in Gothic style, then remodeled in the 14th century and again at the beginning of the 20th century.
  • Arezzo Cathedral has three aisles with stained glass windows by Guillaume de Marcilatt (1470-1529).
  • Diocesan Museum you can see works from the cathedral and other churches in the Diocese.
  • Medici fortress dating from the 16th century and a pentagonal bastioned fortification, which according to Vasari was impregnable.
  • Church of Saint Dominic, in Gothic style and with a Romanesque portal.
  • Also worth seeing is the 14th century Abbey of Holy Flora and Lucilla, where Vasari also worked.
  • The Church of Santa Maria is interesting, and popularly known as the Chiesa delle cento buche” (the Church of a hundred hollows), because of its 40 windows.
  • Nearby the church of St. Michael and Adrian, whose facade was rebuilt after the last war, is the former monastery of Olivetan monks, which houses the Archaeological Museum which collects Etruscan, Roman and medieval finds of Arezzo.

HISTORY OF AREZZO

Arretium was conquered by the Romans in 311 BC and became a military station on the via Cassia, the road to expansion by republican Rome into the basin of the Po. Arretium sided with Marius in the Roman Civil War, and the victorious Sulla established a colony of his veterans in the half-demolished city, as Arretium Fidens ("Faithful Arretium"). The old Etruscan aristocracy was not extinguished: Caius Clinius Mecaenas, whose name is eponymous with "patron of the arts", was of the noble Aretine Etruscan stock. The city continued to flourish as Arretium Vetus ("Old Arretium"), the third largest city in Italy in the Augustan period, well-known in particular for its widely-exported pottery, the characteristic moulded and glazed Arretine ware, bucchero-ware of dark clay, and red-painted vases (the so-called "coral" vases).

In the 4 C AD, Arezzo became an episcopal seat. It is one of the few cities whose succession of bishops are known by name without interruption to the present day, in part because they were the feudal lords of the city in the Middle Ages. The Roman city was demolished, partly as a result of the Gothic War and the invasion of the Lombards, partly dismantled, as elsewhere throughout Europe, and the stones reused for fortifications by the Aretines. Only the amphitheatre remained.

The commune of Arezzo threw off the control of its bishop in 1098. Until 1384, Arezzo maintained itself as an independent city-state, generally Ghibelline in tendency, thus opposing Guelph Florence. In 1252 the city founded its university, the Studium. After the rout of the Battle of Campaldino (1289), which saw the death of Bishop Guglielmino Ubertini, the fortunes of Ghibelline Arezzo started to ebb, apart from a brief period under the Tarlati family, chief among them Guido Tarlati, who became bishop in 1312 and maintained good relations with the Ghibelline party. The Tarlati sought support in an alliance with Forlì and its overlords, the Ordelaffi, but unavailingly. Arezzo yielded to Florentine domination in 1384 and thenceforth its individual history was submerged in that of Florence and the Medicean Grand Duchy of Tuscany. During this period Piero della Francesca worked in the church of San Francesco di Arezzo producing the splendid frescoes which are Arezzo's most famous works, but afterwards the city began an economical and cultural decay, that had the effect of preserving its mediaeval centre.

In the 18 C, the neighbouring marshes of the Val di Chiana, south of Arezzo, were drained and the region became more pleasant. At the end of the century, French troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Arezzo, but the city soon turned into a base of the resistance against the invaders with the movement of "Viva Maria". This gained the city the role of provincial capital. In 1860 Arezzo became part of the Kingdom of Italy. City buildings suffered heavy damage during World War II.

Castiglion Fiorentino | Tuscany Region

CASTIGLION FIORENTINO | TUSCANY

castiglion florentino

Castiglion Fiorentino is a small, walled city in eastern Tuscany, Italy, in the province of Arezzo, between the cities of Arezzo and Cortona. It is well known for its annual festivals and Etruscan archeological site. Castiglion Fiorentino lies at the centre of a triangle formed by the cities of Florence, Siena and Perugia. Situated on a hilltop, 400 meters above sea level, the town overlooks the Val di Chio and the Preappenines. Slightly more than 13,000 people live in the city (2013). The village of Manciano, known locally as "Misericordia", lies a mile to the west.

HISTORY OF CASTIGLION FIORENTINO

Due to the overall infrastructure, town walls, and building architecture, for many years scholars considered the town to have been established in the late medieval time frame. More recent excavations, however, have found the remains of an Etruscan city wall (c. 4th century BC) underneath the current Piazzale del Cassero, and have discovered the remains of an Etruscan temple under one of the town's churches, la chiesa di Sant'Angelo, which was built in the twelfth century. Documents from the 10th century mention a town named "Castiglione" in the feudal property of the Marquis of Monte Santa Maria. During the following century, the town became a part of the Diocese of Arezzo. From the 12th century the town was a free commune, until 1289 when, in the wake of the battle of Campaldino, it became part of the Republic of Florence. Arezzo and Siena joined forces against the Florentines in later years and reconquered Castiglione Aretino (as it was known then), which was then fortified under the direction of Bishop Guido Tarlati, Lord of Arezzo. Following Tarlati's death in 1336, Florence again gained control of Castiglione, until 1344, when it was acquired by Perugia, and renamed Castiglione Perugino. In 1369 the townspeople revolted against the Perugians, giving themselves to the Papal States; by 1384 the Florentines seized the town and bestowed its current name, Castiglione Fiorentino. During the 15th century, Castiglion Fiorentino suffered from repeated outbreaks of the plague, blamed at the time on the marshy areas surrounding the city. At the dawn of the 16th century, the Sienese army, led by Pietro Strozzi, gained control of the area, holding Castiglion Fiorentino until 1654, when the area became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. For the next two hundred years, the Medici Grand Dukes ruled the city, until in 1765 the House of Lorraine gained power. The new dynasty encouraged the reclamation of marshlands, leading to a period of economic and population growth for Castiglion Fiorentino. From 1800 to 1814, the town was garrisoned by Napoleon's troops. After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the town was returned to Tuscany, to which it remained until 1861, when the Grand Duchy was annexed to the newly created Kingdom of Italy. Military activity during World War II damaged part of the town center as well as much of the surrounding countryside.

WHAT TO SEE IN CASTIGLION FIORENTINO

The first of the existing city walls, including Porta Fiorentina, the main entrance to the town's historical center, was erected in the 13th century, then enlarged in the 14th under the Perugians to connect the castle to the outside walls. An anti-gate containing the Medici coat of arms is located outside of the walls, while the inside of the gate is constructed of three arches under a statue of the town's patron saint, St. Michael. The town's fortress, the Cassero, was completed in 1367. In the 15th century, the nuns of San Girolamo used the fortress as a convent, and by the 19th century much of the fortress had been destroyed, with the remaining structure used as a prison. The Pinacoteca, or Municipal Art Gallery, occupies the former church of Sant'Angelo. Built on the site of an Etruscan temple, the church of Sant'Angelo was built in Romanesque style between 1229 and 1239. The church has served as a hospital, wine cellar, and workshop before being renovated and used as an official museum and art gallery. In 1513 Vasari constructed a nine arch loggia (Logge del Vasari) in Piazza del Comune, overlooking the valley. The Logge were restored once between 1560 and 1570 and then again in the first part of the 20th century. Nearby is the Castello di Montecchio, which once was given to the British mercenary John Hawkwood.

Celle sul Rigo | Tuscany Region

CELLE SUL RIGO | TUSCANY

celle sul rigo

Celle sul Rigo, a small village 4 km from San Casciano, is located on a hill that dominates the Paglia Valley, in front of the Monte Amiata. Its sweeping and fascinating views were much admired by the poet Giosué Carducci, during the years he spent there with his family. Palazzone, the other small village near San Casciano, is mainly rural and produces high quality wine and olive oil. The Castle of Fighine is a gem that shouldn't be missed. From the castle, you can see right over the Val di Chiana as far as the distant peaks of the Umbrian Appennines. Due to its historic heritage and magnificent surroundings, as well as its conservation policies, San Casciano has been awarded the Orange Flag and has been nominated one of the Most Beautiful Old Towns of Italy.

Cetona | Tuscany Region

CETONA | TUSCANY

cetona

Cetona is a well-preserved mediaeval town located the Val di Chiana in the extreme south-east of Tuscany, Italy, in the province of Sienna. It surrounds a hill where the rocca (fortress), containing a square tower (ca 900 AD) and an inner fortress wall, is located. This rocca became known as the Scitonia castle. In the 1300s, possession of Cetona frequently changed hands between Siena and Orvieto, and after a brief period under Perugia, it was annexed by Siena. An outer wall was built, containing two round towers (1458 AD) and Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici sold Cetona in 1556 to the Marquis Chiappino Vitelli, who converted the fortress into a private residence and built the piazza, today named Piazza Garibaldi. His descendants also erected Palazzo Vitelli in the late 1600s. The castle of Cetona is still privately owned.

Viewed from a distance and from any direction, Cetona looks like a cone with houses climbing up its sides and with a large group of cypresses and pines hiding the castle at the apex. The Collegiate church, which dates from the 13 C and houses noteworthy paintings, including one attributed to Pinturicchio (1454-1513), is located just below the castle. Piazza Garibaldi is quite large for a town of 3,000 inhabitants and is the location of churches (S. Michele Arcangelo and SS. Annunziata) and residences (Palazzo Vitelli, l6 C) and, at the far end, the Rivellino tower which was part of the outer walls. The "historical centre" is uphill from the piazza, and includes the Palazzo di Giustizia, now the local police station, and further up, the Palazzo Minutelli, currently the town hall. Further on, the beautiful Collegiate church has its own little piazza. The path under the Arco del Brugi leads to the Costa dell'Arciprete, a curving, initially level path, that drops steeply steeply at Capperoni and continues towards Piazza Luca Contile (Piazza Paré) and to S. Michele church.

Cetona became a favorite of the trendy set in the Italy of the 1960s. This happened thanks partly to its geographical location halfway between Florence and Rome on the Autostrada del Sole but also because of the attractiveness of the town itself and the beauty of the surrounding countryside. Cetona remains popular - the clothing designer Valentino owns a palazzo here - and although it is off the tourist circuit the shops are good and it's a pleasant place to visit.

Civitella in Val di Chiana | Tuscany Region

CIVITELLA IN VAL DI CHIANA | TUSCANY

civitella valdichiana

Civitella in Val di Chiana (Civitella Valdichiana, also known locally as Civitella della Chiana) is a pleasant and interesting walled village in Tuscany, located on a high ridge between the valley of the Chiani river and the Val d'Ambra, and providing spectacular views of both. The name "Civitella" could be the diminutive of the latin "civitas", a town or city - in other words, "a small town" - or it could be derived from the Tuscan "civitella", a variety of wheat. The former derivation is more likely considering the large number of towns named "Civitella" throughout Italy. Numerous archaeological finds indicate that the first settlements in the area of Civitella in Val di Chiana go back to the Etruscan and Roman periods. During the Early Middle Ages, the Longobards built their fortifications on the remains of Roman buildings, and the Fortress visible today is a Longobard structure. The earliest extant religious buildings date from between the 9 C and the 11 C, and the houses of the population are clustered around these structures.

HISTORY OF CIVITELLA VALDICHIANA

Around the year 1000, the fortress of Civitella in Val di Chiana fell under the direct control of the Bishopric of Arezzo and, partly because of its strategic position, the Civitella became the administrative centre for the territories of the Ambra valley, and was known at that time as Civitella del Vescovo (Civitella of the Bishop).

During the 13 C, Civitella in Val di Chiana suffered from the conflicts between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines taking place on its territory and resulting in the destruction of the Fortress. In 1272, the Fortress was rebuilt by Bishop Guglielmino degli Ubertini, but in 1289 it was conquered by the Florentine army which had previously defeated the city of Arezzo in the famous Battle of Campaldino. During the next century, Civitella was for long once more under the control of the Bishopric of Arezzo but in 1384 it was definitively annexed to Florentine territory, becoming the seat of the Florentine Podestà. In the middle of the 14 C, Civitella was besieged by the Siennese under Pietro Strozzi but was rescued by Medici forces. At the beginning of the 18 C century, Civitella passed by inheritance to the Dukes of Lorraine, who in 1774 elevated the village to the rank of autonomous municipality. The Dukes of Lorraine retained control of Civitella almost uninterruptedly until the unification of Italy in 1861 under King Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy.

Important sights in Civitella in Val di Chiana include the Chiesa di Santa Maria, the Rocca (Fortress) and the Palazzo Pretorio (Praetorian Palace). The Rocca, which was German headquarters during WW II, was extensively bombed and has not been restored. The Aretine gate suffered a similar fate, but the Siennese gate remains intact.

Numerous annual celebrations take place in Civitella in Val di Chiana, the most enjoyable being the "Feast of Grapes, Olive Oil and Wine" held during the second week of September.

Cortona, Arezzo Province

CORTONA | TUSCANY

Bike Touring Tuscany, Cortona

Cortona is an attractive place to spend a day or two with great art, great atmosphere, stupendous views to Lake Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana. Cortona is a small but fascinating city in the province of Arezzo, Tuscany, central Italy, situated on a commanding hill, and overlooking Lake Trasimeno. Its cyclopean walls reveal its Etruscan origins. It was one of the twelve cities of Etruria and in its vicinity many Etruscan ruins and tombs may be seen. Cortona sided against Rome until 310 B.C. when Fabius Rullianus defeated the Etruscans and took Perugia. Perugia, with other cities, including Cortona, then made peace with Rome. Later Cortona was destroyed by the Lombards but was soon rebuilt. In the 14 C, it was governed by the Casali and afterwards became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Many famous men were born or lived in Cortona, among them Brother Elias (Elia Coppi), the famous companion of St. Francis of Assisi, and later Vicar-General of the Franciscan Order; Cardinals Egidio Boni and Silvio Passerini; the painter Luca Signorelli; the architect and painter Pietro Berrettini (Pietro da Cortona). St. Margaret of Cortona (1248-97) was born at Laviano (Alviano) in the Diocese of Chiusi, and became the mistress of a nobleman of the vicinity. On discovering his body after he had met a violent death, she repented and, after a public penance, retired to Cortona, where she took the habit of a Tertiary of St. Francis and devoted her life to works of penance and charity. Leo X permitted her veneration at Cortona, and Urban VIII extended the privilege to the Franciscan Order. Benedict XIII canonised her in 1728. Her body rests in a beautiful sarcophagus in the church dedicated to her at Cortona.

The town is not at the top of a mountain, but about half way up, with views of the surrounding landscape below. Unlike many hill towns, Cortona is worth visiting for its art alone. The Museo Diocesano has a small but interesting collection including powerful works by Signorelli and Fra Angelico. The Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca, housed in a former palace, has an eclectic collection of paintings, Etruscan artifacts and jewelry, and Egyptian mummies.

GETTING TO CORTONA

Cortona may be accessed by rail: the closest station is Camucia-Cortona, about 10 km away, at the bottom of the hill. There are direct trains from Florence, Rome, and Foligno (by way of Perugia).

HELPFUL TIPS

Cortona's helpful TI (tourist information office) is at Via Nazionale 42 (open daily March-Oct 9:00-13:00 & 15:00-19:00, tel. 0575-630-352).

There are lots of cafés for lunch, or assemble a picnic and dine al fresco. Cortona's San Marco hostel, housed in a remodeled 13th century palace, is one of Italy's best (Via Maffei 57, tel 0575-601-392.

Foiano di Chiana | Tuscany Region

FOIANO DI CHIANA | TUSCANY

foiano di chiana

Foiano di Chiana is located in the Arezzo Province of the Tuscany Region, and is a small farm community in the Val di Chiana. Foiano's name, according to a legend, derives from the god Janus who, when he went up the Tiber River and settled in the shadow of a hill, called it Flos Janus. Also, a parchment dating back to 842 CE was found in which Lothar I mentions the Roman Campus Fugianus. In 1383, control of Foiano passed from Arezzo to Florence and the inhabitants built fortified walls around the town. In 1387 the city became a free commune and the first communal statute was drafted. After the siege of the Aragonese, Foiano fell back into Florentine control and the new "heart shaped" town walls were built in 1480. Foiano was the best defense point in the Valdichiana because it used to be surrounded on three sides by marshland. In order to access the town, the inhabitants and visitors would have to arrive by boat where it was marshy, otherwise by land into the town. The marshland existed where the Chiana river now flows. The Castle of Foiano was built on the southern side of the city and changed hands many times according to who ruled the land. Leonardo da Vinci arrived in Foiano in 1502 and began to draw up plans for the draining of the Valdichiana and also the famous map of Valdichiana. In 1525, Foiano was the first commune to give up its marshlands to the Medici for draining. It took three centuries to drain the Val di Chiana, continuing during the Lorena rule. Only when, with the fall of Siena in 1554, all the territory passed under the dominion of the Medici, a coordinated and complete plan of reclamation could be prepared. Figures like Leonardo da Vinci, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Baldassarre Peruzzi and Vignola were involved in the work. In 1789, Napoleon’s troops came through Tuscany, but the French Revolution had no influence on Foiano, which enjoyed their pre-existing protection under Florence. In 1862, Foiano took on the name Foiano della Chiana and it was one of the first municipalities to elect a town council by popular majority.

WHAT TO SEE IN FOIANO DI CHIANA

Inside the walled city, there are art and architectural works by Andrea della Robbia and other notable artists of the Renaissance. Inside the church of San Michele Arcangelo, on the second south altar, a Madonna of the Rosary by Lorenzo Lippi and on the third north altar, and enameled terracotta of the Ascension by della Robbia and son Giovanni around 1495–1500. The Corso Vittorio Emanuele leads to the Piazza della Collegiata where, inside the Collegiata itself, is the Madonna della Cintola done in 1502 by Andrea della Robbia, and Coronation of the Virgin by the Luca Signorelli school. The church of Santa Maria della Fraternità houses four paintings by Giovanni Camillo Sagrestani and the statue of Madonna and Child by Andrea della Robbia (around 1460), based on a model by his uncle Luca. Architectural works of Foiano include the 14th century Palazzo Pretorio along one side of Piazza Cavour, and the Palazzo delle Logge on the other, built between the 16th and 17th centuries. The Palazzo delle Logge was the residence of Ferdinando II de Medici and the Municipal Historic Archive and the Library are now housed inside, with some of the halls used for exhibitions. The Civic Tower has been recently restored, preserving its original proportions and façade. The Garibaldi Theatre which used to be called Monte Pio in 1570 and the Palazzo Neri-Serneri are also found within the old town. Also, the grain loggias bearing the Medici arms are a good example of Foiano’s long history. Close to the town is located the small octagonal temple of Santo Stefano della Vittoria, built by Giorgio Vasari for Duke Cosimo I and dedicated to Cosimo's victory in the battle of Scannagallo. There might be a few Chianina Ox in the fields to see, these were once the main source of power for the region.

Lucignano | Tuscany Region

LUCIGNANO | TUSCANY

lucignano

Lucignano is a comune (township) in the Province of Arezzo, in the Tuscany Region.  Lucignano is located 20 km southeast of Florence and 10 km southwest of Arezzo. Lucignano borders the townships of Foiano della Chiana, Marciano della Chiana, Monte San Savino, Rapolano Terme, and Sinalunga.

WHAT TO SEE AT LUCIGNANO

Lucignano represents a well conserved medieval walled hill-top village, elliptical in shape. It was strategically located between Siena and Arezzo, and between 1200 and 1500 was disputed between these cities and Florence and Perugia. The name Lucignano probably derives from the Roman family of the consul Licinio. Once the town came under the rule of Florence, construction began of the fortress, attributed to Bernardo Puccini; the sanctuary of the Madonna della Querce (attributed to the Vasari) in 1568; convent of the Cappuccini (c. 1580); the churches of Misericordia (1582) and della Collegiata (1594). Of note is the elaborate reliquary made for the Franciscan church, now in the Museo Civico. Called the L’albero della vita it is a gilded and bejeweled tree surmounted by a crucified figure. It is signed by two jewelers, Ugolino da Vieri in 1350 and Gabriello D'Antonio in 1471.

Marciano della Chiana | Tuscany Region

MARCIANO DELLA CHIANA | TUSCANY

marcino della chiana

Marciano della Chiana is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Arezzo in the Italian region Tuscany, located about southeast of Florence and about southwest of Arezzo. Marciano della Chiana borders the following municipalities: Arezzo, Castiglion Fiorentino, Foiano della Chiana, Lucignano, Monte San Savino. The town is of medieval origins, dating to the Lombard domination in Tuscany; later it was acquired by the commune of Arezzo and then by the Republic of Siena. In 1554 it was the seat of the Battle of Marciano (or Scannagallo).

Monte San Savino | Tuscany Region

MONTE SAN SAVINO | TUSCANY

monte san savino

Monte San Savino is a town and comune in the province of Arezzo, Tuscany ( Italy). It is located on the Essa stream in the Valdichiana. Several of its frazioni occupy higher hills, like Gargonza and its castle at and Palazzuolo at an elevation of 500 meters a.s.l.

Monte San Savino was one of the first urban settlements in Tuscany, Italy. It originated around 1100, but a further century had to pass before Monte San Savino could be considered a centre of a certain social, political and cultural importance of Tuscany in those times.

WHAT TO SEE IN MONTE SAN SAVINO

  • Palazzo di Monte
  • Logge dei Mercanti
  • Palazzo Pretorio
  • Cassero
  • Church of Santi Tiburzio and Susanna (13th century), at Gargonza, housing Tuscan Renaissance paintings.

San Casciano dei Bagni | Tuscany Region

SAN CASCIANO DEI BAGNI | TUSCANY

San Casciano dei Bagni

San Casciano dei Bagni is located in Tuscany on the southern border of the province of Sienna and has been famous since the earliest times for its abundant thermal springs. The 42 springs within its territory were discovered by the Etruscans and developed by the Romans. The feudal aristocracy of the Middle Ages also made great use of them. The waters were at the height of their fame in the period between the Renaissance and the middle of the 18 C. Today, the same sources feed the ultra-modern Fonteverde Spa centre. The mediaeval centre of San Casciano is composed a maze of narrow streets, alleys and squares that wrap themselves round the hill and wind upwards towards the Collegiate and the Town Hall. All that remains of the ancient "suburbium" is the church of Santa Maria della Colonna, standing in the countryside and dating back to the 4-5 C.
 
San Casciano takes its name from the ancient church dedicated to Saint Casciano, to which the specification "Bagni" (baths) was added to indicate the presence of the thermal baths of the territory. The origins of the village of San Casciano dei Bagni go back to the Etruscan and Roman periods, when the first thermal baths were built here. During the Roman Age, the locality was known not only for the beneficial properties of its sulphuric and alkaline springs but also for the flourishing trading activities that took place here, due to its location close to the Via Cassia.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the whole area was depopulated as a result of the recurrent Barbaric invasions and only repopulated during the Early Middle Ages around an already-existing castle that was under the jurisdiction of the The Abbey of Saint Salvatore. During the first years of the 13 C, the castle passed to the Visconti family of Campiglia, as testified by an imperial act issued in 1226 by Federico II. At the same time the ancient Via Cassia was diverted to San Casciano dei Bagni which consequently profited greatly.

After various political events involving the Visconti of Campiglia, in the middle of the 14 C, the family divided into two different branches and the new Lord of San Casciano dei Bagni gave the village to the Republic of Sienna. The period of Siennese domination coincided with the beginning of a series of bloody conflicts for control of the village, which was invaded and devastated first by the troops of Niccolò Piccinino and then by those one of Vitellozzo Vitelli. This situation contributed to the collapse of the Republic of Sienna that occurred as a result of the 16 C onslaught by the troops of the Medici of Florence allied with Imperial troops. By the middle of the 16 C, all of the domains of Sienna, among them San Casciano dei Bagni, became the possessions of the Republic of Florence, under the Medici Grand Dukes. During the domination of the Medici, the thermal baths were restored and promoted. During the next century the reforms acted by the Dukes of Lorraine gave an additional impulse to the economy of San Casciano.

Val di Chiana | Tuscany Region

VAL DI CHIANA | TUSCANY REGION

val di chiana tuscany

The Val di Chiana (Valdichiana) was extensively settled by the Etruscans and Romans. Because of the low river and steam gradients, deforestation resulted in silt accumulation and the valley of the River Chiana slowly became an extensive marshy area. Malarial infestation began in Etruscan times and became seriously hazardous during the Middle Ages and Renaissance when the wetlands were as much as 140 sq km in area. Drainage was first proposed during the 14 C and by 1500 land reclamation was taking place. A man-made channel, the Canale Maestro, was dug to reverse the direction of water flow from southward into the Tiber to northward into the Arno. This work was completed in 1840. Tributary streams were also canalised so that the area is now a fertile alluvial valley. The present-day appearance of the Val di Chiana is thus the result of marsh drainage and reclamation work that was started by the Romans and carried on right through to the 20 C. Leonardo da Vinci drew a map of the area at the beginning of the 16 C, that shows the valley occupied by a large lake running north-south. The towns and villages in the hills on either side of the lake communicated by means of a ford at Valiano, a small village that still exists. There are now just two remnants of the original large lake, the Lago di Chiusi and the very small lake at Montepulciano.

The Val di Chiana extends over the territory of 22 municipalities in the provinces of Arezzo and Sienna in Tuscany, as well as of Perugia and Terni in Umbria. From the north, the valley runs southwards from Arezzo and westwards of Cortona, both of which have magnificent views over the plains of the valley floor. The Val di Chiana thus lies between between the Val d'Orcia and the Val Tiberina (Tiber valley) below Perugia, where the Upper Tiber Valley begins. To the north is the Siennese Chianti and part of the Val d'Elsa. The much hillier Val d'Orcia lies to the west of Montepulciano, across a ridge that starts with Monte Cetona in the south. As throughout the region, Sienna and Florence fought for control of the Val di Chiana on a number of occasions.

Val di Chiana can be broken into three sections

Aretine Val di Chiana (Valdichiana aretina)

This is the part of the Province of Arezzo covered by the municipalities of:

• Arezzo (partly)
• Castiglion Fiorentino
• Civitella in Val di Chiana
• Cortona
• Foiano della Chiana
• Lucignano
• Marciano della Chiana
• Monte San Savino

These are municipalities that were already under the control of the Medici in 1554, the year of the Battle of Scannagallo after which the Florentines occupied the entire valley. The Aretine Val di Chiana lies at the convergence of the four historical valleys of the province of Arezzo together with the Valtiberina, the Casentino (Upper Val d'Arno) and the Valdarno itself.
Siennese Val di Chiana (Valdichiana senese)

This is the part of the Province of Sienna covered by the municipalities of:

• Cetona
• Chianciano Terme
• Chiusi
• Montepulciano
• San Casciano dei Bagni (partly)
• Sarteano
• Sinalunga
• Torrita di Siena
• Trequanda

These are municipalities that were part of the Siennese Republic until 1554. With the exception of San Casciano dei Bagni, all of these municipalities formed part of the aretine territories of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany after 1554. With the unification of Italy in 1860, they were re-allocated to the province of Sienna.
Roman Val di Chiana (Valdichiana romana)

"Roman" Val di Chiana refers to the territory of five municipalities in Umbria. Three of these are in the province of Perugia

• Castiglione del Lago
• Tuoro sul Trasimeno (partly)
• Città della Pieve

and two are in the province of Terni:

• Monteleone d'Orvieto
• Fabro

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