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El Val di Chiana, visto desde Cortona, y al fondo el lago Trasimeno. Autor y Copyright Marco Ramerini
The Val di Chiana, view from Cortona, and in the background the Lake Trasimeno. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini.

Val di Chiana: the granary of Etruria

The Val di Chiana is a large flat area, crossed by the Chiana river, which is located south-west of the city of Arezzo. The Chiana river, an ancient tributary of the Tiber, was diverted by the Romans so that its waters flowed into the Arno, thus reducing the risk of flooding the Tiber in Rome.

Val di Chiana was considered in ancient times the granary of Etruria, thanks to the fertility of the soil and the richness of its crops. The valley was also crossed by two important Roman arteries, the Via Cassia (vetus) and the Via Clodia, the main settlements in Etruscan and Roman times were Cortona and Chiusi.

A AREA RICH IN CULTIVATIONS

During the Middle Ages the territory suffered a gradual abandonment of the valley floor, caused by the swamping of most of the area, then the hill towns of Montepulciano, Castiglion Fiorentino, Monte San Savino, Lucignano, Civitella Val di Chiana developed. From the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries the area was reclaimed and agricultural activities experienced a new flourishing period.

Il Loggiato del Palazzo Vescovile nella Piazza del Duomo, Chiusi, Siena. Autore e Copyright Marco Ramerini

The Porch of the Bishop’s Palace in Piazza del Duomo, Chiusi, Siena. Author andCopyright Marco Ramerini

Today the area is divided between the provinces of Arezzo and Siena. It includes the municipalities of Castiglion Fiorentino, Civitella in Val di Chiana, Cortona, Foiano della Chiana, Lucignano, Marciano della Chiana, Monte San Savino in the province of Arezzo. While those of Cetona, Chianciano Terme, Chiusi, Montepulciano, San Casciano dei Bagni, Sarteano, Sinalunga, Torrita di Siena, and Trequanda are located in the province of Siena.

Part of the Val di Chiana also extends into Umbria, in fact there are also the Umbrian municipalities of the province of Perugia of Castiglione del Lago, Paciano, Città della Pieve, Tuoro sul Trasimeno (in part), Panicale (in part) and those of the the province of Terni di Monteleone d’Orvieto and Fabro.

Val di Chiana

Val di Chiana

The Val di Chiana extends over approximately 2,300 km², at the southern end of the valley is Mount Cetona (1,148 meters), which is the highest mountain in the area. The tourist attractions of this area of Tuscany are manifold. There are cities of great tourist importance such as Arezzo, Cortona, Chiusi, Castiglion Fiorentino and Montepulciano, the important thermal center of Chianciano Terme. But also very beautiful smaller towns such as Lucignano, Monte San Savino, Civitella in Val di Chiana, Cetona, Sarteano, and in Umbria, Città della Pieve, Monteleone d’Orvieto and Castiglione del Lago.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • AA. VV. “Toscana” Guide Rosse Touring Club Italiano, 2007
  • cur. Fornasari L.; Refice P. “Rinascimento in terra d’Arezzo. Da Beato Angelico e Piero della Francesca a Bartolomeo della Gatta e Luca Signorelli….” Polistampa, 2012
  • cur. Massai C. “Arezzo e la sua provincia. Cortona, Castiglion Fiorentino, Val di Chiana… viste nel viaggio pittorico della Toscana dell’abate Francesco Fontani nel 1834” F & C. Edizioni, 2013
  • Rombai Leonardo; Stopani Renato “Val di Chiana Toscana. Territorio, storia e viaggi” Polistampa, 2011

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