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figline gaville

This page is about a trip to the area known as the Valdarno superiore fiorentino, the stretch of the river Arno running from Figline Valdarno to Florence.  Along the road are castles, villas, country parish churches and some beautiful countryside.

ponte mediceoThere are also some stretches of industrial landscape that are not quite so beautiful, but as you will discover, the positive aspects of the tour far outweigh the negative ones.
As you leave Florence along the Muraglione SS 67 towards Pontassieve, vine-, olive- and cypress- clad hills descend from Fiesole. There are a number of attractive landmarks along the route: the Rocca Tedalda fortress at Sant’Andrea a Rovezzano; the majestic Villa delle Falle at Compiobbi, surrounded by vineyards; and the Pieve di San Giovanni Battista a Rèmole (Sieci), a Romanesque church with a bell tower that has attractive biforate windows.

From Sieci, you can also take a detour to the Castello del Trebbio at Santa Brigida. In the historic town centre of Pontassieve there are two 14th-century city doors and a splendid medieval bridge over the river Sieve.
From Pontassieve take the SS 69 in the direction of Arezzo. The valley is quite narrow at first but opens up at Rignano and there are some beautiful views. At the station and the ancient monastery of Sant’Ellero, you have a choice of route. You can either take the road that climbs towards Donnini, where along what was probably the route of the ancient via Cassia vetus you come to the Romanesque parish churches of Pitiana, San Donato in Fronzano and Sant’Agata in Arfoli, before descending to Reggello and the splendid Pieve di Cascia and from there to Figline.

Alternatively you can carry on along the SS 69, coming first to the eclectic Villa di Sammezzano, which is situated in a beautiful romantic park, and then to the Torre del Castellano, which was built in the 14th century by the Conti Guidi di Poppi. The SS 69 crosses over onto the left-hand side of the river at Incisa Val d’Arno, but our route sticks to the right-hand bank and crosses the river at the bridge in Figline Valdarno. Here there are a number of points of interest, including the Collegiata di Santa Maria and the 17th-century loggia of the Ospedale Serristori. On the return route, you come first of all to Incisa Val d’Arno, where there are the remains of an old bridge over the Arno. The provincial road runs along the river to Rignano sull’Arno, climbs to Volognano and then drops down again to Rosano, where there is the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria a Rosano situated in a beautiful landscape of olive trees and vineyards. From Rosano, you come to the fulling-mill of Rèmole, an interesting pre-industrial archaeological complex, where from the 14th century onwards wool cloth was fulled to make it thicker. Then there is the village of Candeli, above which there is the imposing Villa La Tana, and the Pieve di Ripoli, another example of Romanesque architecture.






Published: 31/5/2013

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