Val di Chiana, Arezzo, Monte San Savino

Castello di Gargonza is located in the heart of Tuscany, between Siena and Arezzo along the rolling hills that border the Crete Senesi, the Chianti Classico wine region and the Val di Chiana. It is easily accessible and is 11 km  off  Monte San Savino A1 highway exit.

The gems of the Chiana Valley

Monte San Savino
and Lucignano

Discover the renaissance town of Monte San Savino, city of Pope Giulio III, with the Jewish ghetto, the church of S. Agostino with Giorgio Vasari painting of the assumption of Christ, the tower of the “Cassero” where local exhibitions are held. Very close to Monte San Savino another hilltop village called Lucignano is worth a visit.

An intact medieval village with circular streets which leed to the main portal give to this medieval village one of the most characteristic frame of all Val di chiana. Outside the village you can visit smaller churches still with important painters such as Giorgio Vasari.

Piero della Francesca’s footpath

Piero della Francesca

Piero della Francesca footpath in Arezzo. Visit the fresco’s of the “Vera Croce” located inside the Bacci Chapel of St. Francis Church and admire Piero della Francesca’s complete  pictorial cycle which has been preserved undamaged until now days.

The Arezzo province, it’s territory and landscape has been of great inspiration for Piero della Francesca and the itinerary may also include the “Madonna del Parto” which is in Monterchi, in the Val Tiberina at 55 km from Gargonza.

The Madonna del Parto is one of the greatest work of Piero della Francesca where the pregnant lady reveals herself to the faithful.

Gargonza is ideal to follow the life of Italy’s patron: St. Francis. It is worth then a visit to the “Celle di Cortona” in Val di chiana just outside the city of Cortona where the Saint passed by from Assisi.

It is actually going towards Umbria and Assisi is an hour and 30 minutes drive to Gargonza and can be easily done in one day visiting the church of San Francesco, Santa Chiara, Santa Maria degli Angeli in Porziuncola.

Another gem is the Santuario della Verna located in another Arezzo valley: il Casentino. Gargonza is one hour from La Verna and you can admire the church devoted to St Francis after his pilgrimage to the hill of La Verna.


The drainage path

Absolutely not to be missed, for those who stay in Gargonza and are bike lovers, the “Sentiero della Bonifica” in Valdichiana. The path runs along the Maestro della Chiana canal and starts from Chiusi up to the Chiusa dei Monaci on the outskirts of Arezzo.

In addition to being a flat path (which is rare in this part of Tuscany!) and therefore also suitable for families with children, it is ideal for recalling a period of history retracing the traces of the long struggle between grand dukes and rulers, laborers and farmers against the marshes.

The cycle itinerary of the path takes its name from the great drainage works that the Medici carried out on these lands since the Fifteen century. For about four centuries, first the Medici, then Lorena and finally the Italian state used great resources and the talents of the best engineers of their times to be able to enjoy one of the most fertile plains in central Italy today.
In particular, this drainage technique consisted in drying the marshy areas by slowly raising the ground level. This was possible by creating embankments that let the clear water flow out, leaving all its debris inside the fill.
The itinerary is also an opportunity to discover the remains of the Etruscan civilization of which the Val di Chiana is a witness.
From Gargonza it is easily reachable by following the signs for Cesa and from there go towards Arezzo. In agreement with the reception it is possible to return by Van to Gargonza. Bicycles are available both from Gargonza or at the bicycle shop in Monte San Savino, but always with a previous booking.

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