There are places in the world that as soon as we get there can make us feel like we have been there before.
This is because there are lands that thanks to their location and history have formed entire nations and have given life to civilizations that have unified Italy its culture.
The old town of Anghiari, found on top of a cliff between the Sovara stream and the Tevere River is one of these places.
It is part of the ‘most beautiful towns in Italy’ and has an orange flag from the Touring Club, important factors that distinguish Italy.
Of medieval aspect tourists will be amazed by the picturesque alleys and the stone houses that maintain Anghiari’s appeal.
The town centre’s architecture begins from the 1050’s and was completed with the fortification of the town walls in 1200.
Anghiari is famous for the battle between the Florentines and the Milanese in 1440.
The battle would most probably have been forgotten if it was not for the Magistrati di Firenze. They asked Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) to ‘decorate’ the hall in Palazzo Vecchio with pictures comemorating the Republic’s important events. The picture however was not completed probably destroyed for another one by Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574).
Anghiari is connected to Sansepolcro by a road network (from the 1400’s) that scores the Battle’s plain and peaks leading to the heart of Anghiari in Piazze Baldaccio. The Piazza hosts a market since 1388 every Wednesday.
Anghiari offers to the tourist unforgettable architecture culture and religion.
The old road network of Via di Ronda to the north of the town walls has been renovated on various occasions from 1444 making it in impregnable under attack. The Teatro dei Ricomposti built in 1790 with a neo-renaissance style, reminds the town of its very important cultural vocation.
In the Borghetto, a characteristic neighbourhood in the town, there is Palazzo Taglieschi and easily recognisable by its façade. Even though it is a Renaissance build it comes from the union of the pre-existing ‘house-towers’. Today the building houses the museum – Museo statale di Palazzo Taglieschi which displays a collection of sculptures and frescoes from Anghiari and neighbouring towns.
Of particular interest is the sword from Andrea della Robbia’s workshop (1435-1525) and two painted wooden Virgin Marys, from 13th and 14th Century respectively.
Opposite is the Palazzo del Marzocco, built in the XV century and that today has been completely restored and is the headquarters for the Centro di Documentazione della Battaglio di Anghiari (documentation from the Battle of Anghiari). Still present in the higher part of Anghiari, is the Rocca which was the first fortified core from which Angiari was built. A prestigious building is without doubt the Torre dell’orologio known as the Campano. Together with the Cassero they form Anghiari’s landscape.
In the centre of the towns core is Palazzo Pretorio, its façade still shows signs of the original structure with its arched windows, large fresco underneath the open gallery and the terracotta and stone stems. The building was once part of the Rocca and was the residency for the town’s mayor and heads of church for the Repubblica Fiorentina up until 1386.
The church Santa Maria delle Grazie was built in 1628 and 1740 and has been restored externally more than once. Behind the altar there is windowed terracotta by the Andrea della Robbia workshop. The church Chiesa di Sant’Agostino was extended in 1464 when the bell tower collapsed. The church Chiesa della Badia is even older was the first place of worship for the town (XI century).
The prestigious image of the 13th century wooden crucifix on the high altar attracts attention for two reasons: Christ’s loincloth that has interesting decorations painted on the bottom and his real hair that today is cut for adoration.
EVENTS OF ANGHIARI
HANDICRAFT EXHIBITION IN VALTIBERINA TOSCANA
End of April / May
The Artisan Handcraft Fair is a Market and an Exhibition and represents both an endorsement of and the promotion of the Skills of the Artisan Craftsmen of Anghiari and the surrounding areas.
I CENTO GUSTI DELL’APPENNINO
End of October /begin of November
A country Fair and Market of the traditional local specialities, with the possibility of tasting and buying local delicatessen.
FESTA DEI BRINGOLI
Caprese Michelangelo runs along the Apennine dorsal west of the Tuscan Valtiberina.
Its name comes from the famous birth of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1464) born 6th March 1475. His father was Ludovico Buonarotti and was Florentine gentry. The birth certificate was found among the Bounarotti’s archives.
For those that live in the area during the summer the woods and forests are full of beech, chestnuts and oak trees making the uncontaminated area particularly healthy.
Historical monuments that are worth visiting are: the church Chiesa di San Giovanni and the fourteenth century Case del Podesta which is the artist’s birth place and now callad Museo Michelangelesco. It holds reproductions and photographs of some Michelangelo’s most famous works along with a library.
There are also Palazzo Clusini which is now the municipal, the medieval Sale della Rocca where there is a small gipsothèque donated by the Gallerie Fiorentine together with some modern art. Finally there is the outdoor museum, Museo di Scultura all’aperto with contemporary art.
Near Caprese it is possible to admire the Abbazia camaldolese di Tifi, the Pieve di San Cassiano, the romantic church Chiesa di San Cristoforo and the Santuario della Madonna della Selva.
The places where San Francesco walked through when travelling from Assisi to Sacro Monte della Verna also need to be admired for example the church Chiesa di San Polo, the Cappella di Zenzano and the Eremo delle Casella.