immagine banner


The Pratomagno is the mountainous district between the two valleys of the Valdarno and the Casentino separating Florence from Arezzo, and a drive through the district creates an interesting itinerary. To discover this delightful portion of the territory of the Province of Arezzo, take the Strada dei Sette Ponti which is famous for the numerous ancient pievi, or parish churches, along the way: Pelago, Pitiana, Cascia, Scò, Gropina and San Giustino, and it was once the link between Florence and Arezzo and, therefore, the link with Rome. A part of this road retraces the ancient Via Cassia Vetus, the old Via Cassia of the Romans, and the road itself is more than a thousand years old. The origin of the name Sette Ponti, or “seven bridges” has not yet been completely ascertained. It could derive from the fact that the road crosses numerous water courses, but these are many more than seven; or the name could be linked to the number seven, which would connect the pagan divinities once venerated in these places with the Christian saints to whom the churches along the route are dedicated.
You start discovering the Pratomagno when you cross the Arno River over the Ponte a Buriano. Very old documents assign the construction of this bridge to 1277 but, in all probability, it was built on the site of a previous bridge, perhaps from Etruscan times but, if not, certainly one of Roman origin used along a very important transport route, like the Via Cassia Vetus. A number of scholars have identified the gullies of the Valdarno, of the River Arno and of the Ponte a Buriano as being those depicted in the background to the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci in the Louvre in Paris. The road goes north-east and passes through the Natural Park, “Riserva Naturale Ponte Buriano-Penna” and reaches CASTIGLION FIBOCCHI. Of ancient origin, the castle was ceded as a feudal domain to the noble family Guidi ai Pazzi in the 12th century. However, like Arezzo, it became a possession of the Florentine Republic after 1384. In the upper part of the village with its narrow laneways, the 12th-century Porta Fredda opens into a stretch of defensive walls and encloses the Palazzo Comunale, or the Municipal Building, which was enlarged in 1863, and the Chiesa dei Santi Pietro ed Ilario. Inside the church there is a Madonna and Child Enthroned between Two Saints. The figures of the saints have been lost but they were probably a Bishop-Saint and St Michael Archangel. The work, from the first decade of the 16th century, is by Angelo di Lorentino, son of Lorentino d’Andrea the best known and most prolific of the artists who assisted Piero della Francesca on the Cycle of the True Cross in San Francesco in Arezzo.
The Strada dei Sette Ponti continues through San Giustino Valdarno towards Pieve di San Pietro a Gropina which is a short distance off the main road and reached by a steep ascent. The church, which is one of the oldest in the territory of Arezzo, was built around the year 1000. The exterior shows clear signs of renovations and the façade, in hewn sandstone, has two single-light windows and one mullion window with the coat-of-arms of Pope Leo X and the date 1522. The massive bell tower which rises at the side goes back to 1233. Inside, the nave is separated from the two aisles by columns with intricate multiform decorations on the capitals, and a splendid ambo or pulpit stands on one of these.
The road continues to the medieval village of LORO CIUFFENNA.

Torna alla pagina precedente