Description: On a 600 m high hill it dominates the whole Valdichiana as far as the crests of Monte Amiata. Its medieval buildings and lanes give the town an evocative atmosphere. The Basilica di Santa Margherita and the Franciscan Santuario delle Celle invite the visitor to follow an itinerary of art and faith starting from the upper side of Cortona. On the contrary,walking down via Nazionale, once Ruga Piana, the only flat street in town, you reach Piazza della Repubblica where are the Palazzo Comunale and Palazzo Casali, once mansion of the noble family now seat of the Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca ( collection of Etruscan and Roman finds). At the north side of the town, opposite the Renaissance Cathedral, is the Museo Diocesano which contains works by great local artists like Luca Signorelli and an Annunciazione by Fra Angelico, one of his most beautiful works. Outside of town, at the foot of the hill, are the Meloni I and II del Sodo, Etruscan tumulus tombs of the VI cent BC. Towards Foiano della Chiana there is the Abbey of Santa Maria a Farneta which, with its crypt, is one of the oldest Aretine Romanesque examples. An event not to be missed is Cortonantiquaria, one of the most interesting national antique fairs. It takes place annually in the XVIII cent. Palazzo Vagnotti and Palazzo Casali (from the last Saturday of August to the second Sunday of September).
Description: Arezzo lies on a hill close to the Appennino Tosco-Romagnolo. As its architecture proves, Arezzo boasts its ancient origin first as one of the greatest Etruscan towns and then a strategic Roman city. The upper part keeps a remarkable medieval aspect with the Cathedral and the Medici Fortress. The rather Gothic Cathedral contains fine works of art among which La Maddalena by Piero della Francesca and the stained-glass windows by Guillame de Marcillat. The central Piazza Grande shows different styles of architecture: next to the medieval towers are the imposing Renaissance Loggiato Vasariano, the Palazzo delle Fraternita dei Laici, a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and the apse of the Pieve di Santa Maria. The Piazza Grande hosts annually the Giostra del Saracino , a tournament held on the third Sunday of June and the first Sunday of September, and the Antique Fair on the first weekend of every month. The Bacci Chapel in the Basilica di San Francesco houses the stunning Renaissance cycle of frescoes of The legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca. The single-nave church of San Domenico houses the newly restored Crucifix by Cimabue. Many other churches and palaces prove how important and original in the centuries Arezzo was. Notable are the Badia delle Sante Flora e Lucilla, the church of La Santissima Annunziata, Palazzo Pretorio and Palazzo dei Priori, and at a few minutes outside the walls, the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Romanesque Pieve di Sant'Eugenia al Bagnoro. The museums offer a large variety of remarkable works of art: the Museo Archeologico Gaio Cilnio Mecenate, the Museo Statale d'Arte Medievale e Moderna, the Museo and Casa Vasari, the Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi and the Museo Diocesano.
Description: The belltowers of the Church of San Francesco and of the Badia, the present-day Cathedral, are easily recognized as among the recurring architectural elements in many of Piero della Francesca's works. The town of Sansepolcro, which developed around the large Benedictine Abbey, has conserved its medieval urbanistic structure and has, over the centuries, been enriched by important Renaissance and Baroque buildings. The Museo Civico houses such works by the painter as La Resurrezione , complex and symbolic, the polyptych of la Misericordia , San Giuliano and San Ludovico are evidence of the genius of the master of the early Renaissance. In the Cathedral, the Volto Santo , a wooden crucifix from the Carolingian period, is of great interest. Next to the Cathedral is the Palazzo delle Laudi, in manneristic style, and today, the Town Hall. Other architectural and artistic treasures are to be seen throughout the historic centre such as the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Church of San Francesco. A visit to the church of San Lorenzo which contains a painting of the Deposizione by Rosso Fiorentino is a must. The heart of the historic centre is the Piazza Torre di Berta, in which, on the second Sunday in September, the traditional Palio della Balestra is held, where the participants wear costumes inspired by Piero della Francesca's paintings.
Description: The history of Poppi is linked to the family of the Guidi Counts and their castle.Going back to medieval times means starting with their manner house which was built in the XIII cent.. Vasari attributed its design to Lapo, Arnolfo di Cambio's maestro .In the courtyard, there is a complex system of stair-ways and a rich collection of coats of arms. The art works are to be seen inside the chapel with a cycle of frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi, one of Giotto's most important followers. Leaving the castle without having visited the library is as if half the itinerary were incomplete. The collection of books, donated by the Rilli-Orsini Counts to the Comune of Poppi, is an immense library treasure. Set in the centuries' old pine forest is Camaldoli, one of the most important spiritual places in Tuscany. The Hermitage, founded by San Romualdo in about 1012, with its twenty cells and places for solitude and contemplation, has undergone numerous transformations. Rich in Baroque decorations it houses, in the chapel of Sant'Antonio Abate, an altarpiece in glazed terracotta by Andrea della Robbia. In front of the church is the cell of San Romualdo, the only one open to visitors. Some kilometres further down the valley is the architectural complex formed by the monastery, the Foresteria ( guest rooms) and the Church of Santi Donato e Ilariano. The interior, in Baroque form, houses works by the young Giorgio Vasari.
Description: This is one of the most interesting centres in Tuscany because of its original castle on an elliptical plan, closed in by a wall with towers. The old village centre presents, perfectly conserved, the Palazzo Comunale dating from the XIII cent.. Inside is a small museum containing paintings from the Siena and Aretine Schools as well as valuable pieces of gold works from the late Gothic period such as the famous Tree relic of Lucignano. Of great note are other religious buildings and the church of San Francesco decorated with frescoes by the Sienese painters Bartolo di Fredi and Taddeo di Bartolo. Of great interest is the one above the first altar of the right aisle known as the Trionfo della Morte in which, in a very effective wa, is represented the precariousness of human life. The imagination and the inspiration of its characters are shown in spring on the occasion of the Maggiolata Lucignanese where the sounds and colours reliven a tradition rich in history and music.
Description: It has Etruscan-Roman origins, with a nearly entirely preserved circle of walls dominated by the Cassero (donjon). Recent excavations have discovered a V cent. BC sacred area. The Pinacoteca Comunale contains valuable works of jewllery of the XIII cent. and paintings by Margarito, Taddeo Gaddi, Bartolomeo della Gatta and Giorgio Vasari. The XVI cent. Loggia of the Palazzo Comunale, like a balcony, provides a view of the valley of Chio, the natural link between the Valdichiana and the Valtiberina. In the month of May, during the Maggio Castiglionese , many culture,sport, music and food-and-wine events take place. On the third Sunday of June the Palio dei Rioni Castiglionesi, a horse tournament, is held in Piazza Garibaldi outside the walls.
Description: The Medieval village rises up on site which was sacred for the ancient Romans dedicated to the cult of Hercules. Today the village is a must on the Art Route of Piero della Francesca. In the historic centre, in a small museum dedicated to the Vergin, is conserved Piero della Francesca's extraordinary painting, La Madonna del Parto . The painting, recently restored, shows the splendid figure of the Expectant Virgin. From June to September there is the eagerly awaited musical event Concerti in Giardino held at the Museo della Madonna del Parto. A stroll around the streets of the historic centre, allows for a visit to the Museo dei Pesi e delle Bilance in Palazzo Massi-Alberti which contains and interesting collection of instruments of weights and measures.