The Valdarno unwinds along the bed of the Arno, enclosed between the Chianti hills and the Valdambra to the west and the Pratomagno range to the east. The territory is traversed by the ancient Cassia Vetus road, the route of which is now largely traced by the Setteponti provincial road, that connected the two major Etruscan centres of Arezzo and Fiesole.
Wine & Food Magazine
The area was conquered by the Florentines, who in the thirteenth century founded a number of “terre nuove” (Terranuova, Castelfranco di Sopra and San Giovanni, the birthplace of Masaccio), fortified villages provided with walls and laid out on a typical chessboard plan. The itinerary is characterised by landscape and art: from Ponte a Buriano, the Romanesque bridge over the Arno, to Castiglion Fibocchi and to Loro Ciuffenna, a delightful mediaeval hamlet at the foot of Pratomagno, birthplace of the contemporary artist Venturino Venturi whose works are housed in the museum dedicated to him, and on to the parish church of Gropina and the former abbey of Soffena, as far as Pian di Scò with its Romanesque church. The landscape which we can admire in this stretch of the valley is extremely varied, ranging from the gentle hills cloaked in vines and olives to the harsh and dramatic contours of the Balze, with its craggy canyons shaped like spires and pinnacles. Leonardo da Vinci, who studied and knew this landscape profoundly, has immortalised it in some of his works, in particular in the Mona Lisa. Laterina, a village set upon a hilltop guarding the plain beneath. Montevarchi, a town featuring elegant palazzi and art nouveau villas, that offers an itinerary through the millennial history of the valley in the Museo Paleontologico. Cavriglia, an ancient mining centre on the borders with the Chianti territory, offers visitors a fine park. A particularly delightful corner of the valley is the Valdambra, where in the municipalities of Bucine and Pergine Valdarno castles such as those of Montebenichi and Cennina, abbeys and parish churches (Galatrona and Badia a Ruoti) tell the story of the valley. The protected areas of the Inferno and Bandella, of Le Balze, of Ponte Buriano and Penna, and the Pratomagno mountain, observation point and watershed between the two valleys, offer the chance of an encounter withnature, of walks or bike rides in discovery of ancient and new paths. Craft is characterised by the production of articles in glass, and leatherclothing and accessories. The excellent food and wine tradition offers various specialities such as the zolfino bean, Valdarno chicken, fine wine and vinsanto, and extra-virgin olive oil, a typical product of Pergine Valdarno.