trekking_3

The seven-bridge way

The Via Romea from Florence to Arezzo

The main road in Pontassieve was called the 'Via dei Sette Ponti', which probably existed as far back as Etruscan times.
Point of departure: Porta San Gallo (Florence)
Point of arrival:
Piazza Grande (Arezzo)
Distance:
106 km
Duration:
31h 05 min (on foot)
Difficulty:
medium
Recommended time of year:
winter, spring, summer

Pontassieve
was fundamentally important to medieval travellers and the town flourished during the second half of the fourteenth century, becoming a military stronghold for the Florentine State. The road started in the village hamlet of San Pier Maggiore, running parallel to the Arno River. The semi-urban village of San Giovanni Battista a Remore soon developed nearby, in addition to several other hamlets, such as Terenzano, Compiobbi, San Donato a Torri, Le Sieci and Sant’Angelo di Sieve, now called Pontassieve.

Upon crossing the Sieve, thanks to a bridge built by the Medici in 1555, the journey continued following the Arno’s main tributary to Dicomano, toward the abbey of San Godenzo. This road stretched throughout the Apennines until reaching Romagna. For centuries, it hosted travelers and commerce; however, it was not particularly frequented by pilgrims whom often trekked along the ‘Alpe di Serra’ road as it had the advantage of leading directly to Rome.

The main road in Pontassieve was called the 'Via dei Sette Ponti', which probably existed as far back as Etruscan times. During the Middle Ages, it proved especially frequented, partly as a road connecting Florence to other centers that were established on the hilltops of the Pratomagno area. On the other hand, it became an alternative for those intent on making the journey to Rome. From Arezzo, travelers could use the Serra Alps which provided an alternative to the Via Francigena.

Several noteworthy churches can still be found in the hamlets that cropped up along this route, such as San Pietro a Pitiana, San Pietro a Cascia, Santa Maria a Scò, San Pietro a Gropina and San Giustino Valdarno. These historic gems represent prime examples of Romanic religious architecture in the Valdarno area. Upon reaching the country church of San Giustino, near Castiglion Fibocchi, the road crossed the Arno at the grandiose Buriano Bridge, remnant of the powerful seven-arcade medieval structure once graced the area.
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