The enchanting Four Valleys around Arezzo, filled with historical and artistical heritage,not to mention the amazing landscapes , await to be discovered. We’re talking about Casentino, Val di Chiana, Val Tiberina, and Valdarno. Dive deeper with this introductory guide and let yourself be tempted by the wonders of lands of Arezzo!
Casentino Valley: The First Jewel of the Four Valleys
Located north of Arezzo, the Casentino Valley is the first of the Four Valleys and is a jewel rich in history and natural beauty. This valley is distinguished by landscapes that vary from snow-capped mountains to castles, bastions of protection in ancient times. The famous Casentino Forests National Park, reknown all around the globe, offers an immersion in its woods, steeped in ancient legends and historical charm. It was in these places that Dante Alighieri spent part of his time, composing segments of the Divine Comedy and participating in the Battle of Campaldino. One cannot overlook Poppi: dominated by the imposing Castle of the Guidi Counts, it tells a fascinating story offering a splendid glimpse of the culture and traditions of the Casentino.
More Details about the Casentino
Camaldoli, with its Hermitage established by Saint Romuald, is a haven of tranquility and faith, nestled in magical forests. Pratovecchio and Stia show the traces of the Guidi Counts through the Castle of Romena and the Church of San Pietro. In Stia you can find the Museum of Wool Art, highlighting the importance of wool activity in the Casentino region. Soci, near Bibbiena, is famous for the creation of “Casentino Cloth”. Besides these historic places, the Casentino boasts a rich culinary tradition with specialties such as the Cetica potato and the pork products of the Grigio Pig. Lastly, explore the Casentino to experience a pure and untouched Tuscany.
Exploring the Four Valleys: Discover the Magic of the Val di Chiana.
Situated south of Arezzo, Val di Chiana is a Tuscan gem offering breathtaking views and picturesque towns. The “Canale Maestro della Chiana”, established in 1338, defines its borders. Cortona, formerly known as Curtun to the Etruscans, hosts valuable archaeological sites and the esteemed Diocesan Museum, filled with masterpieces by renowned artists. Walking through the ancient heart of this town is therefore pure magic. In Castiglion Fiorentino, the essence of the medieval period is palpable, with the Church of San Francesco and the Vasari Loggia. Piazzale del Cassero and its historic fortress are not to be missed.
Cuisine and Customs of the Region
Monte San Savino boasts the title of Italy’s best Porchetta of 2022, a distinction that followed the Guinness World Records recognition received in 2004. Enjoying this delicacy while contemplating the Hanging Gardens of the Municipal Palace is a unique experience. Civitella in Val di Chiana combines history and leisure with its Museum of Memory and the “Sarapino” event. This festival, echoing the Joust of the Saracen in Arezzo, features competitors in challenges on Piaggio Apes. In conclusion, a visit to the Val di Chiana would not be complete without seeing the Castle of Gargonza and Lake Trasimeno.
Artistic Richeness and Heritage of the Val Tiberina: the Exploration of the Four Valleys continues
Val Tiberina conceals precious artistic gems. Sansepolcro, for example, displays a profound historical legacy. Founded in 934 A.D., its origin is linked to a divine vision of Arcano and Egidio. Here, one can admire the Cathedral with works by Perugino and wander among ancient buildings like the Palazzo Ducci. Anghiari, recognized as one of the Most Beautiful Towns of Italy, is famous for the Battle of 1440. The town offers spectacular views, such as the “Gian Franco Vené” Belvedere.
Some of the Artistic and Sacred Sites of the Valtiberina
Caprese Michelangelo is known as the birthplace of Michelangelo Buonarroti. In this village is the Michelangelo’s Birthplace Museum, located inside the Castle of Caprese. Here, in a nearby church, the famous artist was baptized. Not far away, Monterchi, although small, houses masterpieces like the “Madonna del Parto” by Piero della Francesca. Valtiberina also hosts sacred places like the hermitage of Montecasale, created by Saint Francis of Assisi, and the hermitage of Cerbaiolo, an ancient Benedictine monastery now Franciscan. The latter overlooks Lake Montedoglio, echoing the La Verna Hermitage in Casentino.
Historical Wonders and Landscapes of the Valdarno
Positioned between Arezzo and Florence, the Valdarno is distinguished by its villages rich in history and spectacular views among the peaks of Pratomagno and the rolling hills of Chianti. The Sammezzano Castle, unique in Tuscany with Moorish-Oriental traits, was built in 1605 and, thanks to 19th-century restorations, amazes visitors with its vibrant frescoes and green gardens. A gem of Valdarno is the Abbey of San Giovanni Gualberto in Vallombrosa, situated in forests reminiscent of enchanted worlds. The Bandella Nature Reserve invites suggestive explorations among the native species of the Arno.
Villages and Cultural Treasures of the Valdarno
San Giovanni Valdarno, created by Arnolfo di Cambio, hosts the Palazzo d’Arnolfo and the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. In Montevarchi, the ancient heart displays the Palazzo del Podestà and the Collegiate Church of San Lorenzo. Here, among other things, the Paleontological Museum exhibits fossils, including the notable Elephas Meridionalis. Loro Ciuffenna boasts the oldest water mill in Tuscany. Il Borro, renovated by the Ferragamos, represents a must-visit destination. And then there’s Figline Valdarno, with its Collegiate Church, the Serristori Loggias, and the Garibaldi Theatre. Valdarno offers a continuous interweaving of history, artistic beauty, and landscape.