SurroundingsThe town of Cavriglia lies in the southern upper Valdarno, a valley 40km. long and about 24km. wide, where the Arno River flows between the Pratomagno mountain and the hills of Chianti.
This beautiful valley spans the provinces of Arezzo and Firenze and includes 14 council regions, 10 of which lie in the province of Arezzo. These are Pergine Valdarno, Laterina, Bucine, Montevarchi, San Giovanni Valdarno and Terranova Bracciolini located at the bottom of the valley; Cavriglia on the ridge of the Chianti mountains, and on the other bank of the Arno, along the road of Setteponti, Pian di Scò, Castelfranco and Loro Ciuffenna.
Very little remains of the ancient village of Pergine Valdarno, although the historic centre still retains a very particular charm. In the parish church, dedicated to Saint Michael Archangel is a painting from the early 18th century that depicts the Madonna and Child between Saint Michael the Archangel and Saint Giuseppe.
A short distance outside Pergine, continuing towards the Montelucci agricultural estate, are the suggestive ruins of the Castle of Montelucci and the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Migliari.
In the Church of Saints Ippolito and Cassiano there is an interesting painting attributed to Domenico Puligo, a pupil of Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, who was very prolific in Firenze from 1519 to 1527.
Opposite the village of Laterina, in a place that in ancient times was linked to the cult of the waters, is the 17th century oratory of Santa Maria in Valle.
The territory of Bucine is one of the most extensive in the province, crammed with medieval villages and castles such as Montebenichi, the birth-place of Goro da Montebenichi (whose real name was Gregorio Stendardi), Cennina with its castle, the Tower of Galatrona and the Parish Church of San Giovanni Battista a Petrolo, which houses works of Giovanni della Robbia.
San Giovanni Valdarno has many churches with a lot of important works of art conserved in them. From the Arnolfo Palace, inside of which is the original of the Marzocco (Florentine Lion), to the Church of San Lorenzo and the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie, built around the 16th century, which houses two frescoes of Giovanni Mannozzi. Adjacent to the Basilica is the museum, containing works by artists who lived between the 14th and the 17th century, including the “Annunciation” by Fra Angelico.
Of particular interest are the beautiful palaces that overlook the central throroughfare of Corso Italia. At number 83 is the birthplace of the medieval artist Masaccio, now an art gallery.
“Castel Santa Maria” later became Terranuova Bracciolini in honour of its illustrious citizen Poggio Bracciolini, born in 1337. The Arcipretura of Santa Maria rises in the central square; under the altar of Saint Lucia is an interesting literary document - a memorial stone dating to 1438 with an inscription by Poggio Bracciolini himself.
Campana Gate, also called Florentina Gate, welcomes those arriving in Castelfranco di Sopra, whose baroque church of San Filippo Neri houses works by Matteo Rosselli and by members of the school of Andrea del Sarto.
Enthusiasts of contemporary art shouldn’t miss a visit to the Venturino Venturi Museum in Loro Ciuffenna. This artist, who also worked in Cavriglia, died in 2002. The small urban areas around Loro Ciuffenna that congregate on the road leading to the Parish Church of Gropina, are an attraction for those seeking to combine history, popular traditions and wonderful landscape in one visit.
Aside from the oldest part of the village, the main attraction in Pian di Scò is the parish church of Santa Maria a Scò, a romanesque building whose three apses, covered with slabs of sandstone, are clearly visible from the Setteponti road at the entrance to the village.
The archaelogical site of Castiglion della Corte is also of particular interest.
Montevarchi, the most highly populated city in the Valdarno region, is characterized by a curious fusiform historic centre reminiscent of ancient German villages. Among the buildings of interest is the Church of San Lorenzo, one of the finest examples of what is defined as “Tuscan late baroque”, that preserves a first-rate artistic heritage.
Other museums of note are the Museum of Sacred Art, the “Ernesto Galeffi” Museum of Modern Art and the Palaentological Museum that conserves hundreds of fossils, including an imposing skeleton of Elephas Meridionalis.