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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

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

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

During the Middle Ages the territory of the Val di Chiana suffered a gradual abandonment of the valley, caused by waterlogging in most of the area, then developed the hill towns of Montepulciano, Castiglion Fiorentino, Monte San Savino, Lucignano, Civitella Val di Chiana etc.. From the seventeenth-eighteenth century the area was reclaimed and agricultural activities met a new prosperous 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, are part of the towns of Castiglion Fiorentino, Civitella in Val di Chiana, Cortona, Foiano della Chiana, Lucignano, Marciano della Chiana, Monte San Savino in Arezzo province, and Cetona, Chianciano Terme, Chiusi, Montepulciano, San Casciano dei Bagni, Sarteano, Sinalunga, Torrita di Siena, and Trequanda in Siena province.

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

Val di Chiana

Val di Chiana

The Val di Chiana covers about 2,300 square kilometers, at the southern end of the valley is the Monte Cetona (1,148 meters), which is the highest mountain in the area.The references for tourist in Val di Chiana are varied, there are cities of great tourist importance like Arezzo, Cortona, Chiusi, Montepulciano and Castiglion Fiorentino, the important thermal center of Chianciano Terme, but also very beautiful small towns like Lucignano, Monte San Savino, Civitella in Val di Chiana, Cetona, Sarteano, and in Umbria, Citta 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 in Val di Chiana” 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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