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Valtiberina, girasoli
Photo © RDV
Photo © RDV

Tuscan Valtiberina

Homeland of Renaissance masters, from Michelangelo to Piero della Francesca

The Tuscan Valtiberina is the easternmost stretch of the region and takes its name from the river that crosses through it, all the way down to the border of Umbria, the Tiber.

Be it in the variety of its architectural styles, its habits and customs, its artisan products or the language itself, the Tuscan Valtiberina boasts diverse influences from Emilia-Romagna, Le Marche and Umbria. The Upper Valtiberina was a borderland and meeting point between various civilizations, like the Umbrians, Etruscans, Byzantines and Lombards. The bishops of Arezzo, the lords of Rimini and Montefeltro, the popes in Rome and the Florentines fought for centuries over these mounts and valleys. Roman aristocrats under the reign of Augustus discovered its beauty and built villas here. Then came the era of feudal lords and abbots, who erected solid but haughty castles and monasteries, and the epoch of saints – think: St. Francis of Assisi – who found this place to be perfect for satisfying their spiritual needs.

The traditional difficulties in travelling between the two slopes of the central Apennines contributed to this valley being relatively isolated; Sansepolcro was awarded considerable cultural autonomy and was free to shape itself. This area boasts entire fortified cities, like Anghiari, and river-based towns like Pieve Santo Stefano, today home to the National Diary Archive and the Premio Pieve, not to mention medieval parish churches and castles that narrate the history of this enchanting place and offer tourists evocative and unique itineraries. 

These are the same landscapes that were admired by Michelangelo, who, born in these hills, sensed an entire life waiting to be discovered in the heart of stones, as well as Piero della Francesca, born in Borgo San Sepolcro, who understood the secret of space and light, translating it into paintings. His Madonna del Parto is famous, a fresco that today is proudly safeguarded by the town of Monterchi.

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Tuscan Valtiberina