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Going back now to Castel San Niccolò and proceeding towards Pratovecchio, you visit what is perhaps the most important of the numerous Romanesque pievi in the Casentino, the Pieve di San Pietro a Romena. Dating back to the 8th-9th centuries, its present-day appearance comes from the mid-12th century. The exterior has undergone a number of vicissitudes, including the destruction of the façade in 1678 and the earthquake damage of 1729. Despite this, and taken as a whole, you can still appreciate the apse with its two orders of arches and the bell tower. The interior plan is of a basilica with a nave and two aisles separated by columns with superb capitals. Not far from the church is the Castello di Romena with impressive ruins. Constructed by the Counts Guidi, it eventually passed into the hands of the Florentines. A truly splendid view of the whole Casentino can be had from the ancient manor house. From Romena, you reach Pratovecchio and Stia. Pratovecchio, as the arcaded piazzas testify, was the ancient market attached to the castle of Romena. Worth seeing is the Church of Santa Maria at Poppiena. Stia is an important textile centre and the cloth which is still produced here is called “casentino”. The ancient pieve here has now become the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta with a medieval tower that serves as the bell tower. Inside, there is a triptych by Bicci di Lorenzo, from 1414, and a Madonna and Child by Andrea della Robbia. From here, you do not have a long drive to reach the Castello di Porciano, one of the first residences of the Counts Guidi.


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