Sansepolcro is a pleasant and interesting town located on the plains of the Upper Tiber Valley, in the southeast of Tuscany, bordering Umbria and The Marches.
Sansepolcro is a pleasant and interesting town located on the plains of the Upper Tiber Valley, in the southeast of Tuscany, bordering Umbria and The Marches. It is worth visiting for its ambiance, for its art works, to a lesser extent for its architecture, and if possible for the Palio della Balestra (crossbow tournament) held every year on the second Sunday of September when large numbers of citizens dress in mediaeval costume.
Sansepolcro is situated in an area of Italy historically populated by Etruscans whose principal cities were Perugia, Cortona and Arezzo (all within a 60 km radius of Sansepolcro). The Upper Tiber valley was covered in walnut trees that were a source of timber to both Etruscans and Romans. The Romans succeeded the Etruscans in the area and Birtugia, a Roman camp, was built where Sansepolcro is situated today. A number of Romans, including Pliny the Younger, build their summer villas in the Valtiberina, and Pliny praises the climate and the health of the natives in a famous letter.
According to tradition, Sansepolcro was founded in the 10 C by two pilgrims, Arcanus and Aegidius, who, returning after a long stay in Holy Land, brought with them a fragment of the Holy Sepulchre. They constructed an Oratory which, because of the holy relic, became an important spiritual site. The first historical records date from slightly later and refer to the construction of a Benedictine Abbey. The historical centre Sansepolcro reached its current size around 1400, and in 1500 Giuliano da Sangallo ordered the construction of its walls. Sansepolcro has been ruled by Milan, the Malatesta of Rimini and then Florence.
Sansepolcro was initially a fiefdom of the monastic order of the Camaldolesi but because of its important geographical position on the trade routes linking central Italy with the Adriatic, various city states have fought for control of it since the Middle Ages, beginning with the Camaldolesi (12 C), followed by Arezzo, represented by Uguccione della Faggiola (13 C) and the Signoria of the Tarlati family (14 C), passing under the power of the Ghibelline League for a short time and then in 1351 returning to the Tarlati family. In 1352 an earthquake practically destroyed the town. While rebuilding was underway, the Holy See of Città di Castello, represented by Guglielmo di Grisak, granted the town to Galeotto Malatesta, Lord of Rimini. In the 15 C, Sansepolcro was acquired by Florence, with the support of Pope Eugene IV. In the 16 C, Pope Leo X conferred upon Sansepolcro the title of City under Florentine territorial jurisdiction. In the 18C, Sansepolcro passed under the control of Duke of Lorena.
The belltowers of the Church of San Francesco and of the Badia, the present-day Cathedral, are easily recognized as among the recurring architectural elements in many of Piero della Francesca's works. The town of Sansepolcro, which developed around the large Benedictine Abbey, has conserved its medieval urbanistic structure and has, over the centuries, been enriched by important Renaissance and Baroque buildings. The Museo Civico houses such works by the painter as La Resurrezione , complex and symbolic, the polyptych of la Misericordia , San Giuliano and San Ludovico are evidence of the genius of the master of the early Renaissance. In the Cathedral, the Volto Santo , a wooden crucifix from the Carolingian period, is of great interest. Next to the Cathedral is the Palazzo delle Laudi, in manneristic style, and today, the Town Hall. Other architectural and artistic treasures are to be seen throughout the historic centre such as the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Church of San Francesco. A visit to the church of San Lorenzo which contains a painting of the Deposizione by Rosso Fiorentino is a must. The heart of the historic centre is the Piazza Torre di Berta, in which, on the second Sunday in September, the traditional Palio della Balestra is held, where the participants wear costumes inspired by Piero della Francesca's paintings.
CASA DI PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA
The house where Piero della Francesca was born dates back to the XV century. It was re-structured in the XVI century and today is the seat of the Fondazione Piero della Francesca which is devoted to Renaissance studies.
The Civic Museum is known, above all, for the works by the painter Piero della Francesca (the Polyptich of the Madonna della Misericordia , the Resurrezione and San Ludovico e San Giuliano and also for an excellent collection of works by local painters from the XV to the XVII century.
Sansepolcro: discover the surroundings
Accommodations in the area
- Cortona (Arezzo)
35 km from Sansepolcro
Set within the green hills of Tuscany, a few kilometers away from the old Etruscan town of Cortona farmhouse Rocca di Pierle is the perfect place to find peace and tranquility in contact with the pace of nature.Booking ONLINE
Completely renovated Tuscan farmhouse with 3 rustic-style apartments. For groups possibilities to rent the whole villa.
- Bagno a Ripoli (Florence)
50 km from Sansepolcro
Villa Valdarno is a typical Tuscan farmhouse located in a secluded and peaceful area in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, among vineyards and olive groves, and enjoys a privileged panoramic view of the Florentine Valdarno.Availability request
The ideal solution for groups of friends or acquaintances who wish to spend their holidays in Tuscany with the comforts of a detached villa with swimming pool and large garden.
- Montepulciano (Siena)
57 km from Sansepolcro
Immersed in the verdant countryside around the noble town of Montepulciano, that boasts ancient Etruscan origins, Le Caggiole Estate is perfectly located for exploring Tuscany's most prized treasures.Booking ONLINE
In a relaxing and cosy atmosphere uests are offered three comfortable, quiet double rooms with private bathrooms and two comfortable apartments for two persons and for small family groups.
- Greve in Chianti (Florence)
61 km from Sansepolcro
Villa Chianti is a private villa for rent in Chianti area with pool and garden that can accommodate up to 7 people.Availability request
An oasis of peace and tranquility with views of the Chianti valleys not far from the main tourist attractions of Tuscany.
- Siena (Siena)
73 km from Sansepolcro
Agriturimo Marciano : an exlusive opportunity, two holidays at the place of only one. stay in the country and life downtown. Marciano is located near the walls of the Middle Age town of Siena.Availability request
Five confortable double rooms and a suite with a beautiful sight on the Siena Duomo
- Firenze (Florence)
77 km from Sansepolcro
The charming Marignolle Relais & Charme, nestled the hills of Florence, is the ideal solution for those who want a place of excellence and relaxation and love peace and privacy without the amenities of a luxury hotel.Booking ONLINE
Marignolle Relais & Charme is especially appreciated by travelers looking for style and tradition by offering deluxe rooms or junior suites in a refined, with superior comforts and impeccable services that make this relais an excellence of Florence.
- San Gimignano (Siena)
87 km from Sansepolcro
In the vicinity of the medieval centre of San Gimignano, nestled in the rolling hills of the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, Agriturismo La Lucciolaia is perfectly located for exploring Tuscany's most prized art towns.Availability request
This ancient farmhouse has been recently renovated and divided into eleven double rooms and two Suites, where the magic atmosphere of past times is perfectly blended with modern comforts.
- Colle Val D'Elsa (Siena)
89 km from Sansepolcro
La Pieve, charming farmhouse located on the hills of Val d'Elsa, between Volterra and San Gimignano, along the Via Francigena, in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, with its luxuriant nature and rich history.Availability request
Framed by olive trees and a wood, it fosters a direct dialogue with nature in complete relaxation where they contemplate and enjoy the stillness in private and unique spaces.
- San Gimignano (Siena)
90 km from Sansepolcro
Agriturismo Villa il Palagetto located in the vicinity of the medieval centre of San Gimignano, nestled in the rolling hills of the gorgeous Tuscan countryside.Availability request
Provides comfortable accommodation in 6 double bedrooms and two Suites
- San Gimignano (Siena)
92 km from Sansepolcro
Azienda Agricola Biologica Cesani is an organic farm nestled in the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, in the tiny country hamlet of Pancole, 6 km to the medieval town of San Gimignano.Availability request
Azienda Agricola Biologica Cesani is an organic farm nestled in the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, in the tiny country hamlet of Pancole, 6 km to the medieval town of San Gimignano.
- Lucca (Lucca)
133 km from Sansepolcro
Historic villa 14 km from the center of Lucca immersed in the green of the Tuscan vineyards and olive groves, it has a private swimming pool and a large park.Availability request
Set on 350 square meters in a dominant position offers a unique view of the hills of Tuscany.
- Castiglione della Pescaia (Grosseto)
139 km from Sansepolcro
Beautiful and characteristic villa with stone finishes located in the exclusive Roccamare area in Castiglione della Pescaia.Availability request
Surrounded by the green of the pine forest and the total privacy with 2000 sqm park equipped with relaxation area and barbecue is located about 400 meters from the sea and has a private beach.
- Castiglione della Pescaia (Grosseto)
141 km from Sansepolcro
Beautiful villa with swimming pool surrounded by greenery and tranquility of the exclusive tourist destination Punta Ala and small attic used as service personnel only 300 meters from the sea of Tuscany.Availability request
This ideal solution for those who want to spend their holidays near the beautiful sea of Punta Ala with the comforts of an exclusive villa.
- Massarosa (Lucca)
148 km from Sansepolcro
Stone farmhouse in typical Tuscan style skilfully and elegantly renovated in a dominant position on the hills of Massarosa with spectacular views that reach the sea of Tuscany. The farmhouse has a swimming pool with whirlpool.Availability request
Perfect solution for those that search the real authentic Tuscany staying in the hills but not far from the Versilia sea.
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