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Arezzo

Italy > Arezzo

Arezzo

The Milanese have a bad memory of Anghiari, a fascinating town in the province of Arezzo. Here, on 29 June 1440, Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, gave up all of his expansionist claims to the Italian Peninsula when he was defeated in a bloody battle by Florentine, Venetian and Papal Confederate troops.

During the Lombard period, Anghiari developed as a center, a compact elliptical cliff-top town overlooking the Tiber valley and the Sovara torrent. In 1104, the Camaldolese established an abbey around which, over time, another part of the town, known as the "Borghetto", became established. All this, between 1181 and 1204, was closely packed inside an outer perimeter wall.

A feature of the area called "ruga della Croce", meaning 'furrow of the Cross', is a 6 kilometre straight stretch of road joining Anghiari to Sansepolcro. It was commissioned by Bishop Guido Tarlati at the beginning of the fourteenth century as an emblem of the territorial and political unity that had been achieved. Convents and commercial establishments were later established along the line of the furrow and at the top of steep slope at the road's terminus is the porch of the sixteenth century Church of the Cross Piazza Baldaccio - formerly known by the name of Mercatale - links the post- fourteenth century urban structure, defined by the furrow, with the older part of the town.

It was also the place of trade and it was for this reason that, in 1889, on one side of the square, the Magi Gallery was built to form a sort of town living room in similar fashion to the famous glass and steel galleries to be found in Milan and Naples By the Via Trieste steps, you enter the old town worthy of the best Tuscan tradition, with the damp-looking pavements of the side streets and ramps of steps, the hard crust of homes whose colour changes with the passing of the sun and the herring-boning of brick tiles. The road passes in front of the provost church, dedicated to Our Lady of Grace, which, though built in the eighteenth century, conserves older works of art? such as the long painting depicting the Last Supper by Giovanni Antonio Sogliani of 1531.

The nearby Piazza del Popolo is dominated by the Praetorian Palace, embellished with coats of arms and sandstone rich in frescoes.

In the lobby you notice a large fresco of Justice dating back to the fifteenth century, perhaps the work of Antonio dAnghiari. At noon of the square stands the large structure considered to be an adaptation of the Camaldolese convent. This is the church of the Badia and its curious asymmetry is due to its location on a previous rupestrian place of worship. Treasures to be seen include a wooden crucifix of the late thirteenth century and the fourteenth century wooden Madonna by Tino da Camaino. From the church it is easy to get around the walls to enjoy the view over the Tiber Valley. The highest point of the town is marked by the Clock Tower, originally constructed in the thirteenth century but rebuilt in the seventeenth century.

In Borghetto, stands the Taglieschi Palace, to which, after the annexation of the town in the fifteenth century to Florence, new, highly prized architectural and decorative elements were added. Now the seat of the State Museum, the palace houses a remarkable collection of architectural fragments, paintings, sculptures and frescos from all over the Tiber Valley.

Anghiari has two other museums. The first, in Marzocco Palace, where reconstructions and models of the famous battle of 1440 are on exhibit. The second, the Museum of the Misericordia, is where items and equipment used for the treatment of patients in the hospital of the same name, which was founded in 1348 in response to plague epidemics.

The atmosphere of the town is enlivened throughout by the many workshops and antiques shops. Anghiari is also known for its Centre for the restoration of antique furniture. The annual Tovaglia a quadri (chequered tablecloth) event, where residents and guests are able to enjoy a delicious four-course dinner accompanied by stories narrated by actors and musicians, is unique to the town.

Reason for awarding the Orange Flag The town stands out by virtue of the value, variety and usability of its attractions, good sign-posting and the many opportunities for people to appreciate the local food and craft traditions, all features which animate the old town.

Reason for awarding the Orange Flag The town stands out by virtue of the value, variety and usability of its attractions, good sign-posting and the many opportunities for people to appreciate the local food and craft traditions, all features which animate the old town.

 
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