we introduce some of the principal valleys of Tuscany, many of which are sectors of the valley of the Arno or the valleys of
rivers and streams flowing into the Arno. The main exceptions are the
Valtiberina (Upper Tiber) and the Val di Merse (River Ombrone).
is an oval-shaped valley varying in width across the Arno from 30
to 60 km. Its topography is highly varied, including both plains and
densely forested mountains. These mountains have proven attractive
to saints. St. Romuald built his hermitages at Camaldoli, and two
hundred years later St. Francis of Assisi established the Sanctuary of La Verna, the headquarters of the Franciscan
order. Among the main sights of interest is the Castle of Poppi
dominating the valley from a hilly spur.
More about the
The diverse and yet highly distinctive landscape of the Val d'Orcia
makes it one of the most attractive areas of Tuscany. The Valdorcia is more than just the valley
of the river Orcia. It covers a large part of the area south the
the Siennese hills almost as far as Monte
It includes not only the Crete Senesi and the "big
sky" landscapes of the valley itself, but also beautiful towns such as Pienza,
San Quirico and Montalcino. A
number of famous castles in various states of repair dot the area,
including the Rocca d'Orcia, and the grounds of La
Foce are among the finest 20 C gardens in Tuscany.
More about the Val d'Orcia.
Val di Chiana
Val di Chiana, famous not least for the Chianina breed of
oxen, source of
bistecca alla fiorentina,
spreads SW of Cortona towards the Val
d'Orcia. The Aretine part of the Val di Chiana lies
at the convergence of the four historical valleys of the province of
Arezzo together with the Valtiberina, the Casentino (Upper Val d'Arno)
and the Valdarno itself. The present-day appearance of the Val di Chiana
is the result of marsh drainage and reclamation work that was
started by the Romans and carried on right through to the 20 C.
Several beautiful towns and villages, among them Montepulciano
are part of the Val di Chiana. More
about the Val di Chiana.
Val di Merse
begins few km SW of Sienna and is an area rich in both the works of Nature and
of Man. The dense forests and streams, including the River Merse
itself, are served by walking and
horse riding trails, and there are numerous architectural
gems in both the villages and the countryside, the most famous
being the ruined
Abbazia di San Galgano
and the nearby
Eremo di Montesiepi
(Hermitage of Montesiepi). The only Romanesque cloister in Tuscany
is at Torri and
the village of Sovicille
is surrounded by ancient castles, bridges and monasteries, as well
as villas with formal gardens.
More about the Val di Merse.
Valleys of Tuscany
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