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Val di Chiana - a taste of authentic Tuscany

  • Val di Chiana - a taste of authentic Tuscany

    Lucignano, 37 km west of Cortona, offers a taste of the Val di Chiana, famous for its beef, often found in Florentine steaks.  Lucignano is surrounded by hills and picturesque towns that dot the fertile Val di Chiana plains. The town itself enjoys a commanding view of the Val di Chiana - and its snug medieval walls add to its impact. Originally an Etruscan stronghold, Lucignano is a surprising spot: the concentric arrangement of streets around a fortress make it unique among Tuscan hill towns. The egg-shaped medieval town plan surrounds the 14th-century Palazzo Comunale. Inside are frescoes from the Sienese and Aretine schools, as well as finely worked gold ornaments for which the province of Arezzo has long been famous. The best-known artefact is the beautiful 14th-century Tree of Lucignano, richly embellished with jewels. With few exceptions, Lucignano’s buildings are perfectly preserved, as is the grey-and-white-striped Gothic church of San Francesco. To avoid an overload of culture, dine in Il Goccino, enjoying lovely views from the terrace. Expect modern Tuscan cooking, all locally sourced, from the beef tartare and T-Bone steak to the basil sorbet and olive oil.

    If time, take in the fortified villages of Marciano della Chiana, 6 km northeast. Much of the castle remains intact, as do the walls and a gateway with its own clock tower. Three km to the southeast is the octagonal chapel of Santa Vittoria, designed by Ammannati to mark the spot where the Florentines defeated the Sienese in 1554.

    Web: www.ilgoccino.it

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