Valdarno itinerary

Itinerario Valdarno

Three roads from Arezzo lead to the Valdarno: the A1 motorway, the SS 69 and the Setteponti road. Throughout the valley, you can admire bell towers, towers, parishes, castles and ancient villages such as Loro Ciuffenna, Gropina and Cennina. The Valdarno was the subject of bloody disputes between Florence and Arezzo. At the end of the thirteenth century, to contrast the Aretine bishops who had castles such as Cennina, Castiglione degli Ubertini and Laterina, the Florentines built three fortified villages: San Giovanni, Terranuova and Castelfranco. After the death of Bishop Guido Tarlati, the Aretina Republic suffered a decline and its territory was annexed to the Florentine Republic.

San Giovanni Valdarno: the itinerary begins in the central street, Corso Italia, adorned with medieval and Renaissance buildings; at number 83 there is the house that belonged to the family of the great artist, Masaccio. Then you reach the large square that is divided into two smaller ones: Piazza Masaccio and Piazza Cavour. In the center stands the medieval Palazzo Pretorio, now Palazzo del Municipio (designed by Arnolfo di Cambio), embellished with many coats of arms in the Della Robbia style.

Walking through Piazza Masaccio, you can see the church of San Lorenzo (XIV century), here there are frescoes by Scheggia. Moreover, on the high altar, a triptych by Giovanni del Biondo representing the Coronation of the Virgin and saints (1374 ca). Near the church is the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie (15th century). In the lunette Our Lady delivers the girdle to St. Thomas the Apostle, with the Saints John the Baptist and Lorenzo, by Giovanni della Robbia (ca 1513). Within a sixteenth-century tabernacle, a fresco depicting the Madonna delle Grazie (Florentine painter of the '300). In the Museum of the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie you can admire works by artists such as Lo Scheggia, Mariotto di Cristofano, Giovanni da Piamonte, Domenico di Michelino, Jacopo del Sellaio, Beato Angelico and Giovanni Mannozzi called Giovanni da San Giovanni. In Piazza Cavour, Palazzo d'Arnolfo is fronted by the parish church of San Giovanni Battista (1300), whose portico is adorned with rounds by Robbiani. In the chapel of the monastery of the Augustinians you can admire a panel of the Master of the Nativity of Castello, "Madonna with Child" (XV century). Scheggia and Mariotto di Cristofano can also be found in the former Vallombrosian Abbey of Soffena in Castelfranco di Sopra.

In the Valdarno there is an agricultural production of wines and olive oils of great value, however it is considered one of the oldest industrialization areas of the Arezzo area. The Arno Valley offers wonderful landscapes surrounded by nature. An example is the Parco di Cavriglia, surrounded by chestnut and beech woods, where mouflons, deer, roe deer and other animals live free; its paths can be covered on foot, on horseback or by bicycle. Following the signs for Castelfranco di Sopra you are immersed in the spectacular landscape of the Balze, consisting of ravines and canyons. You can find the flounces in the famous opera "Madonna dei Fusi" by Leonardo da Vinci. The Valle dell'Inferno and Bandella Nature Reserve is home to turkey oaks, oaks, willows, black poplars, downy oaks and holm oaks, as well as numerous birds such as heron and duck. The naturalistic itinerary ends with the Natural Reserve of Ponte Buriano and Penna. Here they are: willow trees, black poplars, rural elms. It is now almost certain that Ponte Buriano is present in the background of the "Gioconda", a famous painting by the great Leonardo da Vinci.

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