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Visita il Mugello, culla dei Medici, a due passi da Firenze e le bellezze toscane

Visiting Tuscany



Val di Chiana

The Val di Chiana, south of Arezzo and lying between the Val d'Orcia and the Val Tiberina, has always been inhabited, as demonstrated by the prehistoric graffiti found in caves on Monte Cetona. It gets its name from the river Chiana, and the valley is a natural communications route between the provinces of Arezzo and Siena. The present-day appearance of the Val di Chiana is the result of marsh drainage and reclamation work that was started by the Romans and carried on right through to the 20th century. Leonardo da Vinci drew up a map of the area at the beginning of the 16th century, which showed that the valley was occupied by a large lake running north-south; the cities and villages in the hills on either side of the lake communicated by means of the ford at Valiano, a small village which still exists, and Siena and Firenze fought for control of it on a number of occasions. Nowadays there are just two remnants of the original large lake, the Lago di Chiusi and the very small lake at Montepulciano.

Montepulciano is the most important town in the valley, and the ancient 16th century fortifications designed by Antonio da Sangallo il Vecchio are still standing. Its narrow medieval streets and alleys lead up to the highest point of the town, Piazza Grande, an excellent example of Renaissance urban design. Distinguished artists including Antonio da Sangallo and Michelozzo contributed to the building of Montepulciano.

The historic part of Chianciano is located on a hill and thanks to the fact that the large, modern, thermal bath complexes have been built elsewhere, it has managed to preserve intact its original medieval appearance. Outside the ancient city walls there is the modern and functional town of Chianciano Terme, which plays host to more than a million visitors a year who come to benefit from the therapeutic properties of its springs and the unspoilt surrounding countryside. Thanks to its hotels and conference facilities, Chianciano Terme also attracts political and cultural meetings.

The town of Chiusi is situated in the hilly area in the south of the Val di Chiana and has the oldest origins of all the settlements in the valley; recent finds indicate there was settlement here in the Bronze Age.

San Casciano Bagni is the southernmost comune in the Val di Chiana, on the border with Lazio and Umbria. Its most distinctive feature is its thermal springs (the third-largest capacity in Europe).

Picture by Sandro Santioli

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