The Town and surroundings: Appartamenti in Agriturismo near Arezzo in Toscana, Anghiari

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The Town and surroundings

THE TOWN Anghiari is a small medieval hilltop town perched on a ridge overloking the beautiful Upper Tiber Valley. With its high walls, narrow alleys and numerous bell towers, Anghiari maintains all its medieval character. Walking through its quaint streets, you will find antique stores, wood carving workshops, delightful cafes and traditional bakeries selling locally produced cakes. Anghiari was the site of a 1440 victory of the Florentines over the Milanese, a decisive battle in stopping Visconti ambitions over Tuscany and the rest of Italy. According to the legend, only one man died, and that was an accident. The Battle of Anghiari was celebrated by Leonardo da Vinci with a fresco for the Council Hall in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. The masterpiece has been lost and it is still subject of research. Leonardo probably used for this painting a new type of plaster or an innovative technique with the result that the work was irreparably ruined and left unfinished. What is left of the work are some composition studies, a description written by Leonardo himself and some inaccurate copies done by numerous artists. A well presented museum in Anghiari is dedicated to this work and the famous battle is celebrated every year on June 29th, with the Palio della Battaglia, a costume pageant taking place in the main square. SURROUNDINGS SANSEPOLCRO, a few miles from Anghiari, is an enchanting town reflecting its Renaissance heritage. In Sansepolcro's historic centre you will find charming squares linked by narrow streets within which there are delightful shops including those displaying locally produced high quality merchandise such as linen, herbal products and hand crafted jewellery. Well known international brands include Busatti and Aboca. There is a wide choice of restaurants, trattorias and cafes available. Every year in Sansepolcro there is the "Palio della Balestra", an ancient crossbow competition of the archers of the town versus those of the city of Gubbio. The contest takes place in the beautiful scenario of the main square Piazza Torre di Berta. Sansepolcro is the birth place of the famous painter Piero della Francesca. The Civic Museum holds some important masterpieces of the great local painter, such as The Resurrection and Polyptych of the Misericordia. MONTERCHI, a medieval hilltop town overlooking the Upper Tiber Valley (Valtiberina), is famous for the fresco Madonna del Parto, one of the most notable works of Piero della Francesca. AREZZO is an elegant, historic city which increased in importance over the centuries thanks to its strategic position. Once an Etruscan settlement, Arezzo then became a Roman town. Numerous finds from those periods are housed in the Archaeological Museum and in the Roman Amphitheatre. During the thirtieth century Arezzo became one of the most important independent cities of Central Italy. The historic main square, Piazza Grande, was the setting for the opening scenes in the Oscar winning film "Life is beautiful" with Roberto Benigni. In early September the Giostra del Saracino competition takes place here: a medieval tilting which includes flag tossing by the Sbandieratori.

Places to visit: the Cathedral, with impressive stained glass windows, the Church of Saint Domenico with the wooden crucifix carved by Cimabue, the church Santa Maria della Pieve with its campanile "of a hundred holes" and above all the Church of Saint Francis, with the Piero della Francesca frescos representing the Legend of the True Cross. The SANCTUARY OF VERNA, situated in the Casentino National Park, is a destination of holy pilgrimage, where Saint Francis received the stigmata. This convent, dating from 1214, contains works by Andrea della Robbia and fiftieth century choir stalls.

As well as being perfectly situated for exploring the Upper Tiber Valley and the whole Central Italy,the apartments are an ideal base for walking tours and bicycle rides in the Tuscan countryside. If, on the other hand, all you require is a peaceful retreat, Anghiari 1778 has a quietl garden.