The Valtiberina, or upper valley of the Tiber, takes its name from the river which flows downhill from Monte Fumaiolo, skirting the town of Sansepolcro. Domination of the area was disputed between Arezzo, the Malatesta lords of Rimini, and Perugia, until at the end of the fifteenth century it became part of Florentine, and later Medici, territory. Ancient mediaeval villages clinging to the hilltops invite the visitor to stop.
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Among these, Anghiari, which has recently been awarded the “Orange Flag” for the excellent preservation of the town centre with its lanes, its craft workshops and mediaeval palazzi and a Museo delle Tradizioni in Palazzo Taglieschi; Monterchi, birthplace of the mother of Piero della Francesca, housing one of the finest works of the artist, the Madonna del Parto, Badia Tedalda and Sestino. The Valtiberina is a territory rich in protected areas: the Alpe della Luna, the Monti Rognosi, the Sasso di Simone, all with superb panoramas and suggestive views. Two great artists were born in this valley: Michelangelo in Caprese (in the mediaeval village there is a museum dedicated to the artist) and Piero della Francesca, who has always had strong links with his birthplace of Sansepolcro, where four of the works which the artist painted for the town are preserved in the Museo Civico: the Resurrection, St. Julian, St. Ludovic and the Polyptych of the Misericordia. The old craft traditions connected with linen goods and restoration still thrive within local culture. In Sansepolcro a biennial show celebrates the ancient lace-making tradition, while in September every year the Palio della Balestra revives the traditional challenge between the archers of Sansepolcro and Gubbio, where the costumes are inspired by figures from the paintings of Piero della Francesca. The cuisine of the Valtiberina is an amalgam of ancient flavours: bringoli (long spaghetti made of flour and salt), dishes based on porcini mushrooms and truffles (the white truffle of Sestino being a particular delicacy), as well as the prized Chianina meat from livestock reared predominantly in the areas of Badia Tedalda and Sestino.