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Valdarno - Visit Itinerary

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Tourist information about the region of the Valdarno`s Valley

Valdarno: Visit Itinerary - Along the Arno An itinerary designed for the discovery of the Upper Valdarno is bound to follow the course of the river Arno itself, leading from the gates of Arezzo as far as the confluence with the Sieve. Castiglion Fibocchi is the first municipality of the Valdarno which we encounter coming from Arezzo, situated on the right side of the river; it boasts an interesting frescoed Annunciation of the fourteenth-century Arezzo school, housed in the church of San Pietro a Pezzano. Laterina is famous for the characteristic farmhouses in the surroundings; known as "leopoldine", and featuring portico, loggia and dovecote, these constructions date to the eighteenth-nineteenth centuries. In Terranuova Bracciolini, the birthplace of the humanist Poggio Bracciolini, particularly worth visiting is the church of San Biagio ai Mori, housing fourteenth-fifteenth century frescoes. A few kilometres beyond the centre of Loro Ciuffenna, set within the splendid context of the Valdarno countryside, stands the parish church of San Pietro a Gropina, a magnificent example of Romanesque architecture dating to the eleventh century, one of the most important of the Arezzo diocese. The village of Castelfranco di Sopra reveals an almost intact circle of walls. Definitely worth visiting, in the direction of Pian di Sco, is the former abbey of San Salvatore a Soffena, built in the fourteenth century by the Vallombrosan monks, along with the adjacent monastery. The interior is decorated with interesting fifteenth-century frescoes including some by Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, Masaccio`s brother known as Lo Scheggia (Annunciation). In Pian di ScÚ well worth visiting is the twelfth-century Romanesque church dedicated to Santa Maria, with remarkable capitals and a fifteenth-century fresco by Paolo Schiavo. A little beyond the town centre we find Poggio alia Regina, a recently discovered archaeological site where the castle of the Guidi counts once stood. The itinerary continues along the left bank of the river, starting from Pergine Valdarno, a village of the Ambra valley set within a splendid natural context of vines and olives. Bucine stands at the entrance to the Val d`Ambra, a region boasting a wealth of castles, among which Montebenichi and Cennina are particularly intere sting. There are also numerous churches and abbeys, including the parish church of Galatrona, with a splendid baptismal font by Luca della Robbia, and the Badia a Ruoti, founded by the Camaldoli monks in the eleventh century, which houses a fifteenth-century altarpiece portraying the Coronation of the Virgin by Neri di Bicci. Montevarchi is characterised by modern architecture, with remarkable palazzi and villas in art-nouveau style, Villa Masini in particular; the Museo di Arte Sacra is also of considerable interest. In Cavriglia we recommend a visit to the parish church of San Pancrazio, a unique example of a double-apse Romanesque church, most probably built between the eleventh and the twelfth centuries. San Giovanni Valdarno, famous as the birthplace of Masaccio, features various sites of interest, such as the church of San Lorenzo, with fifteenth-century frescoes by Lo Scheggia, the Museo della Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie, housing an Annunciation by Beato Angelico, and the Palazzo Co-munale designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, who was probably responsible for the entire urban layout of the town. Also on the left bank of the river, Figline Valdarno, birthplace of the humanist philosopher Marsilio Ficino, is the first municipality of the Florentine Upper Valdarno. As well as featuring the fascinating urban layout typical of the walled towns, well worth seeing are the fourteenth-century panel paintings by the so-called Maestro di Figline housed in the Collegiata di Santa Maria and the adjacent Museo d`Arte Sacra. A little way outside the town is the parish church of San Romolo a Gaville, a typical example of the Valdarno Romanesque of the twelfth-thirteenth centuries. Incisa in Val d`Arno is set at a point where the river runs through a gorge carved (or "incisa", hence the origin of the placename) deep into the rock. Among other points of interest, the town offers part of a polyp-tych by Andrea di Giusto (fifteenth- century) in the church of Sant`Aiessandro, and the houses belonging to the family of Francesco Petrarca, who lived here during his childhood although he was born in Arezzo. A Museo d`Arte Sacra has recently been set up in the fourteenth-century Oratorio del Crocifisso where, among other exhibits, we can admire a Madonna and Child by the Maestro di Bar-berino. Rignano sull`Arno concludes the itinerary through the Florentine part of the Upper Valdarno with a scenario of castles and farmhouses of great charm. Particularly outstanding is the splendid eighteenth-century villa of Torre a Cona, with an Italian garden, while the castle of Volognano and the remains of that of Castellon-chio are also extremely suggestive. Among the religious buildings, possibly the most interesting is the Romanesque parish church of San Leolino, dating to the tenth-eleventh centuries, built with three aisles terminating in three apses. .... from Valdarno ( Apt - Florence )

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