Discovering Valtiberina

Discovering Valtiberina

The Valtiberina is crossed by the Statale Tiberina 3, and by the highway E45. Other roads connect it to Arezzo, Valdichiana, Casentino, Romagna, Montefeltro and the Adriatic.

The Upper Tiber valley was a meeting point between the Umbrian and Etruscan civilizations, between the Byzantine and the Longobards. The influences of the various peoples are still evident today in the architecture of the palaces, in the craft traditions and in the gastronomy . The bishops of Arezzo, the lords of Rimini and Montefeltro, the popes and the Florentines contended these territories. The Roman patricians built villas there. Then feudal lords and the abbots erected castles and monasteries .

Michelangelo and Piero della Francesca were born here. In the Sansepolcro valley it has exercised the role of a city endowed with its own cultural autonomy. In Valtiberina there is Anghiari , one of the most beautiful Italian villages; fluvial centers such as Pieve Santo Stefano , Camaldolese abbeys and Franciscan convents, parishes and medieval castles.

Agiculture is still an important element for the economy of the valley and this is inevitably reflected in typical products: cheese, salami, fruit, vegetables, vegetables, honey, truffles, mushrooms and chestnuts.

Parks and Museums are the leitmotiv of Valtiberina. Small museums scattered around the many beautiful villages reveal the cultural activity of the area in the various eras: from Rosso Fiorentino, to Della Robbia, passing through Piero della Francesca, Jacopo della Quercia and Pontormo. Among the natural reserves stands out that of the Sasso di Simone in Sestino, not forgetting the Monti Rognosi, the Alpe della Luna and Monte Nero Reserve.

Sansepolcro: is the most important city of the Tiber Valley of Arezzo and the City of Piero della Francesca . Interesting from the military point of view for its strategic position, Sansepolcro has long been disputed by Guelphs and Ghibellines, damaged by battles and ruinous earthquakes.

Despite the damage of time, the urban structure within the walls of the four-sided walls remained the medieval one, enriched over the centuries by noble Renaissance and Baroque buildings.

The power of the bourgeoisie, who had made the great and powerful Sansepolcro, changed hands in the late feudal period during the domino of the Malatesta family (1370-1430, to finish dominated by the Florentine nobility in 1441).

Even under the domination of Florence the history of Sansepolcro continues for another century, but has a setback in the ‘600 turned into a period of real crisis in the’ 700, crisis that will last until the mid-nineteenth century with the birth of Kingdom of Italy.

After visiting the house of Piero della Francesca , an illustrious artist born in this city at the beginning of the fifteenth century, the visitor will find his works at the Museo Civico , housed in the Palazzo Comunale of the fourteenth century. In this museum it is possible to admire several famous works beyond the polyptych of the “Madonna della Misericordia” (1462) and the fresco of the “Resurrezione” (1463) by Piero della Francesca in which Christ can be seen leaving the tomb, while the Roman soldiers his feet, wearing Renaissance armor and seem suspended in time. Another interesting work to be seen at the Museo Civico di Sansepolcro is the “Crucifixion” by Luca Signorelli, dating back to the fifteenth century.

The Romanesque Cathedral of San Giovanni Evangelista is one of the most interesting buildings of Sansepolcro, which developed around the great Benedictine abbey. Under the bell tower of Badia, the current Cathedral welcomes visitors in the architecture painted by Piero della Francesca, magically inserting it into another time. In the Cathedral the most admired work is the “Volto Santo”, a wooden Crucifix from the Carolingian period.

Next to the Cathedral there is the Palazzo delle Laudi , of mannerist forms, today the seat of the Municipality, and the Loggia delle Laudi (XVI century).

The heart of the historic center is the Torre di Berta square , where the traditional Palio della Balestra takes place on the second Sunday of September. During the historical evocation, the costumes worn by the figures are inspired by the paintings of Piero della Francesca.

The church of S. Francesco is located in the square of the same name; the construction of the building and the adjacent convent, the first example of Gothic style in the city, took place between 1258 and 1321, on the land granted to the Franciscan friar Tommaso da Spello by the Municipality of Sansepolcro. Outside, the church preserves the characteristics of the fourteenth-century architecture: the bell tower and, on the façade, the Gothic arched trilobe portal and the large eye. The interior, completely renovated in the eighteenth century, maintains the original single-nave structure, typical of the mendicant orders, the stone altar, shaped like a sarcophagus with twisted columns, is dated 1304; to admire the beautiful painting of Passignano.

In Sansepolcro, in addition to the works of its most famous citizen, Piero della Francesca, collected in the Museum and admired in the churches and noble palaces, one can admire, in the church of S. Lorenzo, the beautiful table “Deposition” by Rosso Fiorentino. Beautiful frescoes on the History of the Passion (1588), can be admired in the Oratory of the Company of the Crucifix, work by Alessandro Alberti and the brothers Cherubino and Giovanni.

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