CORTONA (8 Km)
Placed on a hill at an altitude of 600 metres, Cortona is one of the oldest Etruscan towns. Not far from the town centre The Basilica di Santa Margherita and the Santuario Francescano delle Celle offer a very interesting itinerary of art and faith. The town centre is very interesting, too, with the very peculiar Piazza del Comune. There are two museums of great interest: the Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca and the Museo Diocesano where you can see the paintings of the most famous local painter, Luca Signorelli and one of the most beautiful Annunciazioni del Beato Angelico.
AREZZO (30 Km)
Its origins are Etruscan and, maybe, it was the site of the 12 Etruscan lucumony. The history of this very special town is precious: it’s the native town of very important artists of Italian colture like Mecenate, Petrarca, Vasari, Redi, Guido d’Arezzo and L’Aretino.
The town centre offers a particular atmosphere, beautiful historical buildings, monuments and a very special in-the-descent square, Piazza Grande.
TRASIMENO LAKE (20 Km)
With an extension of 128 square kilometres it is the fourth Italian lake. The area was populated since prehistoric times and in 217 BC it was the site of the famous Battle of Trasimeno where the Carthaginian Hannibal defeated the Romam Consul Gaio Flaminio’s troops. The lake is very rich in fish resources. The main species that you can find there are the following: pikes, carps, chubs, eels, perches and crucians. On the lake there are three islands: Isola Polvese (the biggest), Isola Maggiore and Isola Minore.
SIENA (45 Km)
Siena is one of the most charming towns in Tuscany. It is rich in monuments, museums, art and architecture which show its glorious historical inheritance. The most important event in Siena is Il Palio di Siena. It’s a dangerous horse race around the main square, Piazza del Campo. Each district of Siena is represented by a horse. The winner gets the longed-for prize, il Trofeo. Il Palio is on the 2nd July and the 16th August.
FIRENZE (80 Km)
Firenze is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. It’s famous all over the world for its art and architecture and for its unique atmosphere. You can visit it in a one-day trip. However, if you want to visit its most important museum, Il Museo degli Uffizi, you need little more time.
It’ s a valley of alluvial origin in Tuscany, central Italy. It is between the province of Arezzo and the province of Siena. It is crossed by the River Chiana which goes from the Lake of Chiusi to the Arno River. In old times the valley was crossed by the River Clanis which flew into reverse, being a tributary of the River Paglia which was a tributary of the Tiber River.The human settlement in Valdichiana goes to prehistoric times; this is witnessed by various archaeological finds discovered in the area. In Etruscan Times the valley had a period of great prosperity, thanks to new efficient techniques of agricultural production and thanks to the prosperous trading that they started, building a lot of bridges on the River Clanis . The splendour and the importance of the Valdichiana Valley in Etruscan times is witnessed by many archaeological finds discovered near Arezzo, Cortona and Chiusi.
The Romans came in Valdichiana after defeating the Etruscan in 295 BC and the Roman presence in the valley is witnessed since the 2nd century. Also in this period the valley maintained its prosperity and the famous historians Plinio il Vecchio and Tacito described it like “the granary of Etruria”. However during the Roman dominion, the area started to experience a period of decadence. The continuous overflowing of the River Paglia, caused by the exceptional amount of water carried on by the River Clanis started to create several problems. For this reason the Romans decided to build a dyke of the river an slowly, during the 1st century, the valley became a swamp. This process went on for many centuries, until the 14th century. This is witnessed by Dante in the XIII canto of the Divina Commedia when he talks about the slow “moving of the Chiana”. Moreover, in 1325, the Statutari Cortonesi decreed about three new ships for the ports of Fasciano, Foiano and Creti. Also Leonardo da Vinci draw a map of the area where it is clearly visible a vast submerged territory surrounded by hills where small villages were built.
After few centuries, in 1554, after the defeat of Siena in the battle of Scannagallo, the Valley became part of the Florentine dominion of the Medici family.
In 1778 Granduca Pietro Leoploldo commissioned Vittorio Fossombroni to plan a project to drain the Valley. A lot of canals were created; the largest is the Canale Maestro della Chiana which goes to the River Arno and where all the others flow. Its course is similar to the old River Clanis but the Canale Maestro della Chiana flows into reverse.
Fossombroni’s work proved successful and today the Valley is very rich, flourishing and with a good quality of the air.
ASSISI (80 Km)
Assisi is the town of Saint Francis; it is the goal of religious tourism all year long, thanks to the life of the Saint who was born here in 1226. There is a lot of interest around Saint Francis and a lot of tourists from all around the world visit Assisi every year, especially after the interest created by the celebrations for the seventh centennial of his death.