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Sansepolcro, Arezzo. Author Christina J. Weis

Sansepolcro: city of art of the Alta Valtiberina

Sansepolcro (16.200 inhabitants) is situated in the Upper Tiber Valley (Alta Val Tiberina), in the extreme east of Tuscany, about forty kilometers from the city of Arezzo. Charming Renaissance town, Sansepolcro owes much of its fame to Piero della Francesca, the famous artist who was born here in the early fifteenth century. The center still retains its character as a city of art, with its majestic architecture, almost all dating from the period between the Middle Ages and the sixteenth century.

The most precious treasures of the city are kept in the civic museum. Located within the prestigious fourteenth century building of the Conservatori, this is home to one of the most beautiful works, if not the best, by Piero della Francesca: the fresco of the Resurrection. In addition to this remarkable painting of the artist’s mature phase, are the equally significant Altarpiece of Our Lady of Mercy (Polittico della Madonna della Misericordia) and paintings depicting St. Julian and St. Louis (San Giuliano e San Ludovico). Also present the works of artists like Signorelli, Pontormo and Della Robbia and many other masterpieces from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century, including many gold, silver, sacred ornaments, bas-reliefs and sculptures, stored in the hall of the stones.

Resurrezione. Opera di Piero della Francesca, Sansepolcro. No Copyright

Resurrection. Work of Piero della Francesca, Sansepolcro

Among the notable architecture, besides the numerous historic buildings of Piazza Torre di Berta and Via XX Settembre, are interesting monuments like the cathedral, the church of San Francesco, the Medici fortress, the town hall of Lauds (Laudi) and the house of Piero della Francesca.

The cathedral, an ancient Camaldolese abbey of the year one thousand rebuilt in the fourteenth century, has an impressive Romanesque portal and three long naves, in which are preserved paintings dating back mainly to the fifteenth century. The Medici fortress is instead a clear example of military architecture of the sixteenth century, and the birthplace of Piero della Francesca is an elegant Renaissance palace, now the home of the artistic foundation.

You can not leave the town without bringing with you a piece of local craftsmanship. Sansepolcro is in fact also famous for its goldsmiths and silversmiths established tradition, as well as embroidery and wrought iron. Among the most popular local crops, wheat, essential ingredient of pasta, and horticultural products in general. As in almost all the Valtiberina territory, stands out the presence of rare as fine truffles, spicy earth product and excellent seasoning for many dishes. Among the meats, particularly flavorful and used is boar. The genuineness of the products is also pouring into delicious local dishes, like the risotto with white truffles and the sweet “cicerchiata”.

The best season to visit this center is surely the spring, where the climate allows for a pleasant stroll around the narrow streets of the center and among the monuments, but also make excursions into contact with nature in the green countryside surroundings.

EVENTS IN SANSEPOLCRO

The most anticipated event of the year falls in September with the traditional Palio della Balestra. The event, which provides a full week of celebration and heartfelt popular participation, has as its protagonists not only citizens of Sansepolcro but also those in Gubbio, also linked to this tradition of Balestrieri. In addition to the final race of archers, which takes place in Piazza Torre di Berta, there are parades of people in Renaissance costumes, whose peculiarity is just being inspired by the works of Piero della Francesca. This innovation was introduced only recently, however, during the five-hundredth anniversary of the death of the artist.

Sansepolcro

Sansepolcro

USEFUL INFORMATION

Sansepolcro Weekly Market: Tuesday and Saturday Weekly market, every Tuesday and Saturday from 8.00 to 13.30.

Tourist Information Offices – Sansepolcro Via Matteotti, Sansepolcro Phone 0575 740536. Hours: daily from 9.30 to 13 / 15.30 to 18.30

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • AA. VV. “Toscana” Guide Rosse Touring Club Italiano, 2007
  • Chieli Francesca “Il museo civico di Sansepolcro” EDIFIR, 2013
  • Cinti Daniela “Le mura medicee di Sansepolcro” Medicea, 1992
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