Tuesday, 25 January 2011


The expression "Valtiberina" - meaning the valley of the river Tiber - usually refers to the Upper Tiber Valley of Tuscany, where it forms the eastern border of Tuscany and meets Emilia Romagna, The Marches and Umbria. This area is unjustly neglected by tourists in comparison with most parts of Tuscany, and in fact there are many charming sights in the Valtiberina. Among them are:

  • Anghiari has one of the most spectacular views, in terms of height and distance, in all Italy. As someone who suffers from mild vertigo, I felt distinctly shaky walking down the main street and looking out towards its extension as Via della Battaglia. Anghiari retains much of its walls and is well worth a half-day visit.
  • Sansepolcro, home of Piera della Francesca and still housing some of his most spectacular paintings, lies, in contrast to Anghiari, on the flat bottom of the Valtiberina. Inside its quadrilateral of protective walls it maintains a mediaeval appearance, with splendid Renaissance and Baroque additions. The Palio della Balestra is a great Tuscan festival held in Sansepolcro every year on the second Sunday of September.
  • Monterchi is not to be missed by anyone interested in the art of Piero della Francesca whose mother was born here. A small museum in Monterchi houses the famous fresco of the Madonna del Parto, an extraordinary portrait by Piero della Francesca of a pregnant Virgin Mary.

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