Foiano della Chiana
Evidence of Etruscan settlements of the VI-IV centuries BC testify to the ancient origins of Foiano and the nearby town of Pozzo della Chiana.
Evidence of Etruscan settlements of the VI-IV centuries BC testify to the ancient origins of Foiano and the nearby town of Pozzo della Chiana. After a century of Aretine control, the castle of Foiano in 1337 came under the dominion of the Florentine Republic, which restored the pre-existing octagonal city walls, built in red brick with high towers. Fought over for almost a century by Florence and Arezzo, in 1387, Foiano drew up its first town statute. In 1436 the nearby town of Pozzo was made part of Foiano by the Florentine Republic, despite the constant rebellions of its inhabitants. In 1525 the work of reclaiming and draining the Valdichiana for agriculture began under the Medici Grandukes and continued under the Lorraine dynasty until its completion in 1886. In 1789 the French troops invaded the Valdichiana. Following the Unification of Italy, Foiano was among the first towns to elect a city council through a popular vote. During the Fascist period, a number of clandestine associations were formed in Foiano which set out to oppose the regime and found their raison d’etre in the fight for freedom of the Resistance.
The municipality of Foiano has as its heraldic symbol, "a golden Florentine lily on a red field". The oldest reference to the heraldic symbol of the municipality of Foiano as "a Florentine lily without frills" is from the 15th Century and consists of a beautiful bronze seal conserved at the Museum of Medieval and Modern Art in Arezzo. In 1453 in fact, the Republic of Florence allowed Foiano to proudly display the symbol of Florence and the title "nobiles viri" as thanks for the Foianese strenuous resistance during the long siege of the castle by Napolitan troops the preceeding year. According to some historians the symbol also alludes to the ancient name of the place known as "Floriano".
Art and History
Foiano and the nearby town of Pozzo boast ancient origins that date back to Etruscan times between the VI and IV centuries BC. Roman remains, have been discovered at "La Cisternella" not far from the town centre. This is an area both rich in history and long-established traditions, as well as an artistic heritage that includes such diverse artistic personalities as Andrea and Giovanni della Robbia, Luca Signorelli and Pomarancio. The presence of a number of important della Robbian works in Foiano (both altarpieces and statues) give the town the character of a small and charming della Robbian museum. One of the works that stands out is the "Madonna of the Girdle" in the Collegiate Church of San Martino, one of the most fully realized of Andrea della Robbia’s works. Also worth mentioning are the "Madonna and Child" in the church of S. Eufemia, "The Ascension" in the Church of S. Domenico, the "Holy Women" group and the "Christ surrounded by Angels" in the Church of S. Francesco. The 16th century is represented by the large altarpiece by Luca Signorelli of the "Coronation of the Virgin" in the Collegiate Church of S. Martino, which demonstrates the artist’s peculiarly expressive qualities. While at the end of the 16th/early 17th century, the artist Antonio Cercignani, "Il Pomarancio" (1562-1629) painted two large altarpieces, one in oil on canvas of the "Holy Trinity with Angels and Saints" in the church of S. Trinita, and the other a "Madonna and Child" in the Collegiate Church of S. Martino. However, it is above all the churches, civic buildings and walls of Foiano that give the town an unusual beauty , created in particular by the use of red brick as the predominant bulding material.
Visit Foiano della Chiana:
Chiesa di San Francesco
The church which was built at the end of the XV century conserves an altarpiece in terracotta by Andrea della Robbia.
Collegiata di San Martino
Built between the XVI and the XVIII cent. it contains a glazed terracotta by Andrea della Robbia Madonna della Cintola and an Incoronazione della Vergine e Santi by Luca Signorelli.
Tempio di Santa Maria alla Vittoria
Some kilometres from the historic centre towards Pozzo della Chiana stands, isolated, the XVI century Tempietto commissioned by Cosimo I as a symbol of the victory over the Sienese in the Battle of Scannagallo.
Chiesa dei SS. Domenico e Michele Arcangelo
Built in the XV century and restructured in the XVII century it conserves a Madonna del Rosario by Lorenzo Lippi (XVII cent.) and a terracotta showing L'Ascensione by Andrea and Giovanni della Robbia.
Chiesa di Santa Maria della Fraternita
Dating back to the XVI cent. with valuable wooden lacunar ceiling, it contains a glazed terracotta by Andrea della Robbia Madonna con Bambino .
Chiesa di Santa Cecilia
Originally a small oratory, the church was rebuilt in the sixteenth century and enlarged in the seventeenth century.