your holidays on the border of Tuscany and Umbria does not
just mean enjoying one of Italy's most charming places but
also living in the heart of a territory thick with towns and
hamlets that wrote the history of this area. The Tenuta di
Vitiano holiday resort is located in a privileged position
for tourism as all main towns of cultural, historic and wine
and food interest of central Italy may be easily reached from
here. We’d like therefore to suggest a number of destinations
located within a short distance and give you brief historical
details about these places.
- (14 Km) The town of Cortona stand high
on a hill (650) and has a spectacular views of the Valdichiana,
Lake Trasimeno and Mount Amiata. Originally, an Etruscan stronghold,
Cortona was conquered by the Romans and Goths before becoming
a free commune in the 12th century when it enjoyed a period
of notable splendour. The centre of Cortona is Piazza della
Repubblica. The nearby Palazzo Pretorio houses Cortona’s
Etruscan Museum. The most important artifact is the famous
bronze lamp which dates back to the V century B.C.
The Diocesan Museum opposite the cathedral contains the Annunciation
by Beato Angelico and works by other major Tuscan artists,
including Luca Signorelli, native of Cortona. Amongst Cortona’s
most beautiful churches are the Gothic Church of S. Francesco
and the Sanctuary of S. Margherita which contains the tomb
of the saint dead in 1362. The Medici fortress affords the
best views of town and countryside. In the north east of Cortona
the visitor can tour the hermitage Eremo delle Celle, founded
by S. Francesco in 1211.
- (14 Km) The provincial capital in the region of Tuscany,
Arezzo lies 80 Kms south of Florence and it dominates the
beautiful valley in which Valtiberina, Valdichiana, Casentino
and Valdarno valleys all join together. The higher part of
the town, dating back to the middle ages, has a Cathedral,
a Medici Fortress, aristocratic palaces and picturesque towers.
The lower part is modern and constantly expanding. Arezzo
was an important town during the Etruscan period, as shown
by the two statues of the Chimaerz and Athene (now in the
Archaeological Museum in Florence). It continued to be important
under the Romans and was famous for its vases, beautiful ceramics
with bas-relief decorations. The mayor things of interest
to see are the Churc of Santa Maria that contain the Lorenzetti
paintings and the Church of San Francesco with the frescoes
of Piero della Francesca.
- (47 Km) The highest of the Tuscan hill towns, Montepulciano,
offers stunning views and fine exemple of Renaissance architecture.
Montepulciano is also know as the pearl of the 15th century
where there are many famous buildings to see such as the Cathedral,
the Loggia del Mercato, the Avignonese and Tarugi palaces
and also the Bucelli Palace with burial urns and Etruscan
and Latin inscriptions. Other places of interest include the
Church of St Agnese, the patron of the town and the Civic
- (66 Km) To the south west of Arezzo , edging throught the
Chianti region, enter Siena and step back to the Middle Ages.
Formed by the meeting of three hills on which Siena is built,
the square is divided into nine sections , commemorating the
council of nine who governed the town in the 13th century.
Twice a year, in July and August the Sienese faithfully ricreate
their medieval heritage in the Palio, a sumptuous pageant-cum-horse
race around the campo.Important things to see are the Palazzo
Pubblico, the museum and the Cathedral built in 1196.
- (90 Km) Florence is almost in the middle of the Italian
peninsula, and it is one of the most important cities for
art, architecture, culture, commerce and industry.
Florence began its rebirth after the decadence of the Barbaric
ages and reached the highest splendour between the 11th and
the 15th century, as a free city. Then came under the rule
of the Medici Family , who later became the Grand Dukes of
Tuscany, this in fact was when the city was at the height
of its glory in art and culture, in politics and economic
power.The Italian painting Cimabue and Giotto, the innovators
of the Renaissance Brunelleschi and Donatello, the universal
men like Leonardo and Michelangelo lived here.The Uffizi,
the Buonarroti House with Michelangelo’s sculptures,
the Academy, the Medici Chapel, the Baptistry with its mosaics,
the Duomo and many other monuments to see.
- (86 Km) Assisi, the most enchanting and spiritual town in
Umbria lies at the foot of the biggest hillside in Umbria,
Mount Subasio. Founded by the Etruscans and later became part
of the Roman empire,the town is the birthplace of Saint Francis
(1182-1226), Patron Saint of Italy.
The main attraction of Assisi is Basilica of Saint Francis.
It consists of two churches.. The lower one was built from
1230 –1253, the entrance to the basilica dates back
the 5th century.Attached to the Basilica is the Franciscan
monastery founded by Saint Francis in 1206. Another magnificent
exemple of gothic architecture is the 13th century church
of Santa Chiara where is painted the crucifix, which allegedly
spoke to Saint Francis.
- (65 Km) The city of Perugia is divided into five quarters,
each named after the original city gates: Sant’Angelo,
Porta Sole, San Pietro, Eburnea e Santa Susanna.
Piazza IV novembre is the city’s main square here you
will find the San Lorenzo Cathedral finished in 1430 and the
Fontana Maggiore designed by Fra Bevignate.
Just opposite is the 13th century Palazzo dei Priori which
still houses the municipal offices and the Galleria Nazionale
dell’Umbria one of the central Italy’s biggest
and best. The Collegio della Mercanzia in the Corso Vannucci
side of the Palazzo dei Priori and in the same building is
the Collegio del Cambio, the towns medieval money exchange,
its walls superbly frescoed by Perugino.
At the southern end of Corso Vannucci are the small Giardini
Carducci from where there are excellent views of the countryside.
Underneath the gardens is a 16th century fortress Rocca Paolina:
destroyed after Italian Unification, the ruins remain a symbol
of defiance against oppression.
- (101 Km) The Roman town of Gubbio has the most medieval
appearance of the Northern Umbrian towns. It is famous for
its local crafts and for its well preserved medieval traditions,
includine the procession of Candles in May. The place to start
a tour of the town is Piazza Quaranta Martiri, named after
forty citizen shot by the nazis in 1944. The Duomo, 13th century
building is an exception to the other churches of Gubbio with
its simple Gothic interior. Others main things to see are
the Plazzo Ducale, the Palazzo dei Consoli end the Roman Theatre,
well preserved 1st century amphitheatre at the foot of the
- (44 Km) The medieval village of Pienza is to be regarded
as a real monument as a whole in its orderliness and rationality
and offers some incredible views of the Val d’Orcia
as in a painting by the best Renaissance artists.
Particularly interesting are the Duomo, Palazzo Piccolomini
and the Museo Diocesano, where works by Sodoma and a number
of magnificent tapestries are collected. Pienza is famous
all over the world for its production of sheep cheeses produced
in the countryside of the Val d’Orcia with its ravines
and its rolling hills, the so-called “Crete”,
and seasoned in a variety of different flavours ranging from
walnut leaves to “pecorino di fossa” seasoning.
- (68 Km) Montalcino is perched on top of hill overlooking
the Val d’Orcia, the Val d’Arbia and the Valle
A town having atypical medieval layout, Montalcino offers
its visitors the Palazzo Comunale, the Cathedral and the churches
of S. Agostino, S. Egidio and S. Francesco. In the Archaeological
Museum you may see a number of interesting prehistorical and
Etruscan findings from the area whilst in the Museo Civico
may see two terracottas by Andrea della Robbia. Montalcino,
though, is, above all, the home to one of Italy’s and
Tuscany’s most important wines: the Brunello di Montalcino:
made from pure Sangiovese vines grown in the nearby hills
this wine is one of the best expressions of a territory and
a landcspae which are the very heart of Tuscany.
and Monterchi – (49 e 39 km) Sansepolcro is
an ancient small town that owes its name, according to the
legend, to two pilgrims that, on returning from the Holy Land
stopped by where today stands the so-called “Borgo”;
there a chapel was built underneath whose altar they lay a
fistful of earth from the Holy Land. The town of Sansepolcro,
also known as the “Borgo” developed around this
small church. Piero della Francesca, the great painter and
author of incomparable works, was born in town. The hamlet
of Monterchi, perched up on a hill only a few miles away from
Sansepolcro, enjoys an enviable position amongst gentle hills
sloping down to the valley of Tiber and is dotted with medieval
churches and convents one of which built right on the ramparts
of town’s walls.
Verna and Camaldoli (77 e 61 km) The sanctuary of
La Verna is located on the Tuscan Apennines perched up on
a mountain covered with beech and fir forests. The sanctuary
is clearly visible from the whole of the Casentino and the
Tiber valley and stands out for its unique shape with its
peak ( m 1283) being divided into three parts. The large sanctuary
complex stands at the top of a cliff shrouded by forest and
houses several treasures of spirituality, art, culture and
history. Another important religious place in the area is
the monastery of Camaldoli where around the year 1000 Saint
Romuald founded the Camaldolesian order.