Bucine and the Valdambra, not far from Florence, Arezzo and Siena, have been a borderland since Roman times.
In the Middle Ages, the fate of Bucine was decided by the families who owned property in the lovely hills that accompany the Ambra to the Arno. Beginning in the thirteenth century, the Guidi Counts of Modigliana owned Bucine and many other castles that the counts placed under Arezzo’s protection in 1225. The Tarlati of Arezzo also had property in these lands and around 1325 they took possession of the castle of Bucine using weapons.
The Florentine Republic continued its gradual insertion into the area, forming a “League” in 1360, which took the name “Valdambra”.
The Tower of Galatrona, also called the "Torrione", is a medieval control tower. From the top of it (a height of 27 meters) there’s an exceptional view over the whole Valdambra, its villages, hills, vineyards and olive groves. Inside, a multimedia itinerary has been created, tracing the tower and its castle’s events. The castle no longer exists, but both were at the center of the struggles between Florence and Siena and between Florence and Arezzo.
The Romanesque parish church of San Giovanni Battista a Petrolo is near the tower. The church is home to three glazed terracotta pieces by Giovanni della Robbia, made between 1517 and 1521.
Located in the Valdarno where Chianti’s steep mountains touch the upper Arno valley, and along the path of the Ambra stream is the municipal area of Bucine - one of the largest in Tuscany. Due to its fantastic position, it’s considered a "gateway to Chianti" and an excellent starting point for exploring the valley’s different villages and nearby cities of art.
In Bucine’s surroundings, more specifically in Cennina, there's a fortress which, among those in the area, best preserves the historic appearance of a medieval castle. The village stands on top of a hill, enclosed by the ruins of an imposing city wall. Inside are stone and brick houses, a picturesque square named Della Cisterna and the cassero, once the heart of the fortification. The panoramic view, especially from the north side of the castle near the church, is spectacular.
Bucine is surrounded by a landscape in which valleys rich in cultivated land (mainly vineyards and olive groves) alternate with hills covered with a vegetation of Mediterranean oaks and shrubs.
The area is also home to some monumental trees; these are spectacularly old and have a unique size and shape, as well as being registered, protected and valued thanks to a path and environmental education activities.
There are numerous trails starting from Bucine which lead you through the area’s nature and history. The Via della Ginestra, winding through country paths, vineyards, cypresses and villas, reaches the historic Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Ginestra, a well-known place of worship next to which an ancient Etruscan well was found.
The area’s most important event, the Festival of the Regions, takes place on the last weekend of May. It’s aimed at promoting historical, cultural, folkloric and food and wine specialities, with stands from all over Italy.
The Trout Festival, which is also in May (although on the second weekend) is a tribute to Bucine’s emblem, as well as to its tradition of fishing. During the festival, fishing competitions are held for children and typical dishes are available to taste.
Between summer and autumn, events relating to the farming world and agricultural products take place: Sagra della Rana (in Pietraviva, July), the Battitura Festival (in Perelli, July), Polenta Festival (September), Sagra della Lumaca (in Ambra, September) and Festa dell'Uva (October).
This agricultural area produces many excellent-quality products, such as extra virgin olive oil, wines (hence the Arezzo Area Wine Trail) and cured meats. There’s also a Slow Food presidium among the latter: the Tarese del Valdarno, a historic and considerably large salami, almost like a huge pancetta. It has a delicate but distinct flavour given the spices that cover it.