Bed Breakfast La Fornace di Racciano  San Gimignano - Siena La Lastra Siena Visit of vineyards
and cellar with wine tasting and light-lunch Relais della Rovere hotel relais colle val d'elsa Siena Agriturismo Cesani San Gimignano - Siena Le Caggiole farmhouse in San Gimignano

The Valley of the Chiana

The Valley of the Chiana is the most vast of the Apennine valleys occupying more than 500 square kilometres of immaculately tended cultivation appearing as a garden from Cortona.

The Valley of the Chiana is the most vast of the Apennine valleys occupying more than 500 square kilometres of immaculately tended cultivation appearing as a garden from Cortona, the old city which dominates it from its height of 600 m. Already 22 centuries ago it must have been considered the granary of Etruria since Hanibal, before crossing it to draw the Roman legions into the ambush at Trasimeno, was able to supply his troops by sacking it.
Valdichiana - Copyright Giuseppe Toscano
But more than the evidence recorded by historians, are the archeological remains and the cultural traditions which reveal the Val di Chiana as the land of ancient civilisation. The hypogean tombs of Camucia and Sodo, the remains of Farneta, the museum of Cortona, confirm that the Etruscans populated and cultivated this valley battling with the forces of the water which for thousands of years had swamped it.
When Leonardo, more than 15 centuries later, designed his “Codice Atlantico”, the Val di Chiana appeared again as a lake. That is why, on the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Barbaric invasions and mainly the Gothic wars which stained Italy with blood for almost all of the VI cent., depopulated the countryside. No longer carefully attended, the land was once more invaded by the waters.
The Lorena reclamation, at the beginning of the XIX cent., designed and directed by the Aretine Vittorio Fossombroni, restored its ancient fertility to the valley, re-establishing villages and farm houses, wonderfully designed, and, for a time, extraordinarily functional.
It was not always, however, an isolated paradise.
After Hanibal, other epic historical events took place in the valley during the process which brought about the establishment of the Tuscan State. The Battle of Pieve al Toppo (1288) in which the Aretines inflicted a tough defeat on the Sienese, who were at the time allied with the Florentine Guelphs, and the battle, called Scannagallo (1554) because of the large number of mercenary French soldiers killed, which took place near Foiano and determined the subjection of the Republic of Siena to Cosimo de’ Medici, First Grand Duke of Tuscany. Many extraordinary geniuses of art were born here amongst the most famous of whom are Luca Signorelli, Pietro da Cortona, Andrea Sansovino, and in our own century, Gino Severini. The Autostrada del Sole and the Rome-Milan railway line cut the valley lengthwise. Two state roads, the Umbro-Casentinese and the eastern branch of the Cassia, following the curving line on both sides, provide excellent connections with the larger centres while a dense network of good provincial roads allows for the crossing of the valley in all directions and for the discovering of the most beautiful spots.
The Val di Chiana was the granary of Etruria and is still today the only area where the most prized breed of cattle is raised, the Chianina, which is derived directly from the pre-historical “bos primigenius” . This agricultural vocation characterizes the economy of the valley, where activities connected to cereal crop production, sugar beet, quality oil production and a typical wine “Bianco Vergine”, prosper.

Accommodations in the area

  • Agriturismo le Caggiole Farmhouse Montepulciano Siena Agriturismo le Caggiole
    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.
  • Agriturismo Marciano Farmhouse Siena Siena Agriturismo Marciano
    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.
  • Relais della Rovere Relais Colle Val D'Elsa Siena Relais della Rovere
    The Relais Della Rovere is a charming hotel created from the conversion of an ancient Benedictine abbey and a papal villa of the Renaissance period.
  • La Pieve Farmhouse Colle Val D'Elsa Siena La Pieve
    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.
  • Agriturismo la Lucciolaia Farmhouse San Gimignano Siena Agriturismo la Lucciolaia
    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.
  • Agriturismo Villa il Palagetto Farmhouse San Gimignano Siena Agriturismo Villa il Palagetto
    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.
  • B&B la Fornace di Racciano Bed Breakfast San Gimignano Siena B&B la Fornace di Racciano
    La Fornace di Racciano is a lovely Bed&Breakfast a short distance from the historical centre of medieval San Gimignano. It consists of a typical Tuscan country house surrounded by a large flowery garden.
  • Agriturismo Cesani Farmhouse San Gimignano Siena Agriturismo Cesani
    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.
  • Podere Vignanova Relais Castagneto Carducci Livorno Podere Vignanova
    Podere Vignanova, little charming resort in Tuscany, in one of the more enchanting corners of the Etruscan coast, where vineyards with wines which are conquering the world.

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