Landscape, art, folklore
The grapes destined for the DOC/DOP "Valdichiana toscana" (tuscan Valdichiana) wine production are partly produced in the area covering the South-eastern part of Tuscany up to the Florence-Rome road ramification covering a portion of the administrative territories of the towns of Arezzo, Castiglion Fiorentino, Civitella in Valdichiana, Cortona, Foiano della Chiana, Lucignano, Marciano and Monte San Savino in the province of Arezzo and the townships of Chiusi, Montepulciano, Sinalunga, and Torrita di Siena in the province of Siena.
Valdichiana is one of the most authentic strips of Tuscan land. It stretches along the Florence-Rome road ramification south of Arezzo and straddling it between the provinces of Arezzo and Siena. Its prestige is superior to its territorial importance, even if the latter has never been underestimated. Such stature has been attained by its great children, products of the land and livestock farming.
Travellers passing through Valdichiana will not easily forget the alluring view of the range of hills departing from Arezzo moving towards Castiglion Fiorentino and Cortona, descending to Chiusi and making their way up the opposite side of the valley towards Torrita di Siena, Sinalunga, Montepulciano, Lucignano, Marciano, Foiano, Monte San Savino and Civitella in Valdichiana.
Arezzo (and Tuscan Valdichiana) is part of the same historical and artistic circuit as Florence and Siena, from where it is only an hour away. This area is rich in history and art. Among the famous ancestors who were born here are: Mecenate, Petrarch, Giorgio Vasari and Piero della Francesca, whose famous frescoes can be admired in the basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo. The frescoes, which represent the Legend of the True Cross, have been recently restored and now shine in their splendid original colours.
Valdichiana is also known for important artefacts and excavations (archeological sites) of the Etruscan period, some of which are fundamental elements for the understanding of Etruscan civilisation.
From spring to autumn, country food festivals take place throughout the valley. One can try typical and traditional farmers' dishes accompanied by white and red wines, maccheroni, goose meat, grilled pork and beef meats. One of the major events is the Chianina Steak food festival in Cortona and the Porchetta (a whole pig roasted in a special oven) in Monte San Savino.
There are also many folkloristic events and re-enactments of historical events, the most important of which is the Giostra del Saracino (The Joust) which takes place in Arezzo in Piazza Grande at the end of June and on the first Sunday of September. The Joust is a tournament between knights of different sections (quarters) of the town. The "Bravio" which takes place at the end of August in Montepulciano is a race where big barrels (80 kgs) are rolled along a difficult winding track inside the town. Antiques are another asset of this area. In August Cortona hosts an important exhibition of antique furniture while a monthly antique fair is held in the historical centre of Arezzo with over 500 exhibitors. Finally, Arezzo and Tuscan Valdichiana include around 1000 industries and artisans and is the largest centre world wide for the amount of gold manufactured in the area, some of the best pieces can be admired in the exhibitions in the historical centre of Arezzo.