Add the typical Tuscan countryside - abounding in vineyards, olive groves, chestnut woods and clumps of woods - to the artistic and archaeological beauties which can be admired along the route. It is true that the wine scent will be the main guide, but at the same time there will occur some pleasant changes: here is what museums, artistic or folkloristic events, appointments with nature and visits to different estates are there for.
The Wine Roads of Terre di Arezzo go across the Valdarno, a valley characterized by an unbelievable variety of landscapes: from one side vines in rows on terraces sustained by dry walls and then villages and castles which, on the other side, are in sharp contrast with lunar landscapes of holes and excavations deriving from open-cast mines. Along the journey you are led to the heart of Valdambra with its ancient abbeys and fortified villages set on the hills covered by centennial olive groves.
Let’s start from San Giovanni Valdarno, birth-place of Masaccio, then go on towards Montevarchi, where Cavriglia naturalistic trail starts: from one side vines in rows on terraces sustained by dry walls, villages and castles which, on the other side, are in sharp contrast with lunar landscapes of holes and excavations deriving from open-cast mines. Keep on going towards Bucine where, among the hills, you can find medieval castles and small hamlets such as the Torre di Galatrona and the Pieve di Petrolo, then find Pergine, where by centennial olive groves the excellent extravirgin olive oil is produced, then Civitella, from whose fortress you can enjoy a superb view over Valdarno from one side and over Valdichiana from the other; Cennina castle, the ancient abbey of Ruoti and the fortified village of Rapale.
From Ambra another itinerary: “the road to Montebenichi” which goes accross an evocative hilly landscape rich in rural and important buildings and, in the square, the small castle restored according to the Aragonese style in the early Nineties.
From Ambra go on towards the ancient village of Sogna along the main road 20 which, winding through the vineyards towards Monte San Savino, run along the historical Castle of Gargonza. From Monte San Savino proceed to the Valdichiana until Lucignano, with its typical spiral-shaped plan and go on towards Foiano della Chiana. After a stop at the Tempio dell’Ammannati in Pozzo della Chiana, ascend to Cortona. While visiting the town of Cortona, besides the direct approach to the artistic beauties and the landscape, you can enjoy a travel through time which takes you back to the dawn of civilization with the Etruscan culture and the Renaissance pictorial masterpieces by visiting the Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca and the Museo Diocesano which has got important works by Luca Signorelli and a wonderful Annunciazione by Beato Angelico.
Then the Wine Road winds towards the Valdichiana, scene of gorgeous views, rich in artistic beauties, in a travel through time which takes you back to the dawn of civilization with the Etruscan culture and the Renaissance pictorial masterpieces, surrounded by extensions of vineyards and olive groves, among the leopoldine houses which tell you stories about this valley, which was reclaimed by Grand Duke Leopoldo.
In the heart of Valdichiana it is possible to appreciate another itinerary surrounded by extensions of vineyards and olive groves. Going on along the Umbro Casentinese road you will meet Castiglion Fiorentino with the Church of Sant’Angelo, dating back to the Twelfth century, the Church of San Francesco, dating back to the Thirteenth century, the beautiful square which witnesses Sangallo’s genius and the Palazzo Pretorio.
And now here is Arezzo. This medieval town rises in the heart of four valleys which are rich in history and culture and furthermore it has got food and agricultural products of first rate quality.
It is worth mentioning the famous Antique Fair which is held in the first Sunday of every month along the streets in the historical centre. In town, besides the artistic monuments, you can visit two museums: the archaeological one which is in an olivetan monastery rising on the Roman amphitheatre and the rich medieval art gallery where, among others, you can admire Piero della Francesca, Giorgio Vasari and Andrea della Robbia’s masterpieces, just to mention some.
Arezzo is one of those places that offer virtually everything the discriminating tourist in Tuscany could desire: grandiose works of art, a long and eventful history animated by a cast of eminent personalities, marvellous scenery in its wooded hills and broad valleys and admirable culinary tradition enhanced by increasingly excellent modern wines. Yet, judged against the flow of tourism in neighboring Florence and Siena, Arezzo and its province are decidedly overlooked. The city lies on the paths of Italy’s main north-south motorway and railway, which traverse the Arno and Chiana valleys through places familiar to travellers since the time of the Etruscans. Terre di Arezzo describes the city and its province and the roads that lead through the wine zones of Chianti Colli Aretini, Valdichiana and Cortona. Over the last decade a growing number of estates in the Arno and Chiana valleys have begun to realize the potential of their hills.
From Arezzo towards the Casentino going up the river Arno. The valley, at first winding, then opens to a perfect amphitheatre shape, only moved by slopes which ends up to the age-old forests covering the mountains in the North: the National Park of Casentino Forests.
Leaving from Arezzo let’s go on to the Strada Provinciale Setteponti which leads to the bottom of Pratomagno. The beautiful terraced vineyards are an example of perfect harmony between man and nature. Along the route near S. Giustino Valdarno you meet the enchanting medieval village of Borro completely restored; going on, near Loro Ciuffenna, you can admire the Romanesque parish church of Gropina and visit the museum of Venturino Venturi. Then you come back to San
Giovanni Valdarno passing through Castelfranco di Sopra.
During this journey you will have the chance to appreciate not only the wines of Arezzo, but also the gastronomy, the welcoming people and their warm hospitality, the traditions, nature and art. From all this remarkably comes out the high quality of life in TERRE DI AREZZO.