Montevarchi and Valdarno
The Land of Leonardo, amidst history and cultureVALDARNO is characterised by the yellowish colour of the Balze - natural towers, pinnacles and cliffs that are the result of the constant erosion of the territory – the silver of olive groves and the green of vineyards that lie along the slopes of Pratomagno mountain. Strategic corridor to communicate with the territories south of Florence, that in 1200 built three “New Lands” (San Giovanni Valdarno, Terranuova Bracciolini e Castelfranco di Sopra) Valdarno is nowadays the most developed valley of the Arezzo province also thanks to its vicinity with Florence and A1. Along the slopes of Pratomagno one finds the Setteponti road (lit. seven bridges road), ancient road of the Romans, dotted with hill towns, churches, abbeys and castles and where the Romanesque Ponte Buriano crosses the Arno river not far from Arezzo. Its cuisine boasts several DOP products like the Valdarno chicken and the “zolfino” bean, just to name a few.
MONTEVARCHI, born as agricultural and market centre of the Middle Ages, shows in its Museo Paleontologico vegetal and animal fossils of the Pliocene Age, and in the Collegiata di S. Lorenzo (widely renovated in the XVIII century) the Museum of Sacred Arts with important artworks by local artists and an extraordinary terracotta temple by the Della Robbia – built to hold the precious relic of the “Holy Milk”.
SAN GIOVANNI VALDARNO, one of the 3 “Terre Nuove” (literally New Lands) - built by the Florentines to protect the territory, together with Terranuova Bracciolini and Castelfranco di Sopra - still shows the ancient Palazzo Pretorio designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, now Town Hall Palace. The Basilica di S. Maria delle Grazie houses the adjoining Museum where, among various notable artworks, one can admire one of the three stunning Annunciations by Beato Angelico – a second is in Cortona, a third in Madrid – brought there from the nearby convent of Montecarlo.
LORO CIUFFENNA is a charming medieval hill town set on the slopes of Pratomagno mountain and crossed by the Ciuffenna stream. The church of S. Maria Assunta houses a beautiful painting by Lorenzo di Bicci.
GROPINA is one of the most beautiful Romanesque parish churches in the Arezzo province and the most important church of Valdarno. Pieve di S. Pietro a Gropina is set in the countryside close to Loro Ciuffenna, surrounded by massive olive trees. It is built in sandstone and has three aisles with columns decorated by peculiar and unusually well carved capitals with symbolic representations of the Romanesque period. The round pulpit is decorated with nice bas-reliefs that depict allegoric and fantastic images.
VALDARNO in short:
- the headtown Montevarchi with the "Cassero" Museum and a huge terracotta decoration in the form of a temple by the della Robbia artists housed in its "Collegiata" church
- the Museum of S. Maria delle Grazie in S. Giovanni Valdarno, that houses a famous "Annunciation" by Beato Angelico
- in the countryside the "Balze", ie. natural towers, pinnacles and amphitheatres, the result of land erosion and a sign of the prehistoric lake that filled the valley, used as background landscapes by Leonardo da Vinci in his famous paintings
- nice open street markets with local products
- Pratomagno mountain, populated with charming hill towns along its slopes like Loro Ciuffenna and Il Borro, a beautifully-restored medieval hamlet
- rather ancient romanesque parish churches, one of which (Pieve di Gropina) with the most greately decorated pulpit of all those of the Arezzo territory
- "Living Nativity Scenes" in its towns during the month of December
- The Carnival dei Figli di Bocco very similar to that of Venice in Castiglion Fibocchi
- several shopping outlets of the most famous Italian fashion brands (The Mall, Prada, Armani, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana just to name a few)
- vineyards and farms with olive groves where excellent Chianti wines and the purest olive oil are made
- farms where the autoctonous zolfino bean and Valdarno chicken are raised
GUIDED TOURS IN VALDARNO - TOURIST TRAILS IN VALDARNO - TOURIST GUIDES VALDARNO - TOURIST ITINERARIES SETTEPONTI ROAD - GUIDED TOURS SETTEPONTI ROAD - TOURIST GUIDES MONTEVARCHI - GUIDED TOURS MONTEVARCHI - TOURIST GUIDES SAN GIOVANNI VALDARNO - GUIDED TOURS SAN GIOVANNI VALDARNO - TOURIST GUIDES LORO CIUFFENNA - TOURIST GUIDES GROPINA - GUIDED TOURS LORO CIUFFENNA AND GROPINA MEDIEVAL CHURCH - TOURIST GUIDES PONTE BURIANO - GUIDED TOURS PONTE BURIANO AND IL BORRO
The capital of Valdarno and the beauties of its historic centre
The Nativities at Laterina
Open air show of hand-made nativities 2-8-9 December 2012
The Nativity at Il Borro
Near S. Giustino V.no ancient Nativity show visible at Christmas time
The "Setteponti" Road
Ponte Buriano background of Gioconda by Leonardo
The "New Lands"
Fortified Cities of Valdarno: San Giovanni, Terranuova and Castelfranco
Pratomagno Hill Towns
Ancient Mid-Hill Towns: Loro Ciuffenna, San Giustino ...
Romanesque Parish Churches in Valdarno
The Middle Ages in Valdarno: the Pievi
The Terracottas by the della Robbias
The Valdarno Terracottas
The "carnevale dei figli di Bocco"
Street masquerade in Castiglion Fibocchi