Anghiari is a little medieval town deep in the magnificent Tuscan countryside, a few kilometres from Arezzo in the Tuscan Valtiberina. Anghiari played a vital role in the Middle Ages due to its strategic position.
It was the Battle of Anghiari on 29 June 1440 that cemented Tuscany's borders, with the Florentines triumphing over the Milanese, allowing Florence to assume governance over the city.
A painting of this battle, now sadly lost somewhere behind the walls of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, allowed Leonardo da Vinci to cement his fame. Anghiari is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Italy, and was deservedly awarded the Italian Touring Club's prestigious Orange Flag. The town unfolds along its steep and unmistakeable ruga, a long, meandering street that runs through it for miles, making for a unique view.
Arriving in the town from the valley, the first thing that the visitor claps eyes on is the Borghetto, the old medieval part of the town, whose majestic surrounding walls were erected in the sixteenth century. The impressive medieval tower, the Campano, catches attention with its massive bulk serving almost as a lighthouse to travellers. Also in the historic town centre, it's worth stopping by the tumbled-down, centuries-old abbey church, established by Camaldolese monks around the year 1000.
Palazzo Taglieschi stands in the historic town centre, and is home to the town museum. The latter contains notable artworks such as a colourful wooden Madonna by Jacopo della Quercia, terracottas in the Della Robbian style, and a sixteenth-century table organ that still works today. Other museums worth seeing are the Museo dellaBattaglia e di Anghiari, which is found in Palazzo Marzocco and which introduces visitors to the history of thefamous battle that links Leonardo to this town, thanks to his choice of it as a subject for a painting. The Museo della Misericordiaretraces the history of Anghiari’s Confraternita della Misericordia through documents and unusual objects. TheConvent and Church della Croce di Anghiari is also unmissable, strongly linked to San Francesco.
The Tuscan Valtiberina is the easternmost point of the region and takes its name from the Tiber which runs along the strip, right up to the border with Umbria.
Very close to the town, nature lovers can explore the unique geological make-up of the Monti Rognosi Nature Reserve, while those who are more interested in the Middle Ages will love the historic Sorci Castle and Sansepolcro, a medieval village which was also Piero della Francesca’s birthplace.
Anghiari is vibrant all year round, thanks to a full calendar of events that includes fairs, displays, exhibitions and special events that unite art, folk traditions and the exquisite local cuisine. The Mostra Mercato dell’Artigianato della Valtiberina Toscana is a perfect occasion to visit Anghiari: a traditional craft fair held in spring that brings the town’s narrow streets and workshops to life, filling them with connoisseurs and the curious.
Every 29th June, the Palio della Vittoria celebrates the Battle of Anghiari. It’s one of Tuscany’s oldest palios and involves running from the battleground (Maestà di S. Maria alla Vittoria) to the piazza del mercatale. The Palio is awarded to the winning municipality and is therefore not an individual prize, but one for the entire part of the city that the athlete represents. The Intrepida brings the small village to life at the end of October. The famous cycling race on vintage bikes that runs through the entire territory of the Battle of Anghiari.
Typical products and traditions
Valtiberina’s mountains and woods are steadfast flagpoints of the area’s delicious products, among which trufflesand porcini mushrooms stand out. Upon your arrival in Anghiari, the famous Torta Mantovana (one of the town’s typical desserts, made by the village’s women for over a hundred years) is a must-try.
In addition to craftsmanship, Anghiari is closely linked to the tradition of woodworking, whose roots are nestled in times long gone. Its history is kept alive through artisan workshops and the Anghiari School of Art.