Castiglion Fiorentino

Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy

Castiglion Fiorentino
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About Castiglion Fiorentino

Castiglion Fiorentino (Italian pronunciation: [kastiʎˈʎoɱ fjorenˈtiːno]) is a small fortified city in eastern Tuscany, in Italy, in the province of Arezzo, between the cities of Arezzo and Cortona. It is known for its annual festivals and its Etruscan archaeological site.


Castiglion Fiorentino is located in the center of a triangle formed by the cities of Florence, Siena and Perugia. Situated on a hill, 345 meters (1,132 feet) above sea level, the city overlooks the Val di Chio and the Preappenines. Just over 13,000 people live in the city (2013). The village of Manciano, known locally as "Misericordia", is located one mile to the west.


Due to the overall infrastructure, the city walls and the architecture of the building, for many years scholars believed that the city was founded in the late medieval period. More recent excavations, however, have found the remains of an Etruscan city wall (c. 4th century BC) under the current Piazzale del Cassero, and have discovered the remains of an Etruscan temple under one of the churches of the city, the church of Sant 'Angelo, which was built in the XII century.

The documents of the 10th century mention a city called "Castiglione" in the feudal property of the Marquis of Monte Santa Maria. During the following century, the city became part of the diocese of Arezzo. From the 12th century the city was a free municipality, until 1289 when, in the wake of the battle of Campaldino, it became part of the Republic of Florence. Arezzo and Siena joined forces against the Florentines in the following years and reconquered Castiglione Aretino (as was then known), which was then fortified under the direction of Bishop Guido Tarlati, lord of Arezzo. After Tarlati's death in 1336, Florence again gained control of Castiglione, until 1344, when it was acquired by Perugia, and renamed Castiglione Perugino. In 1369 the citizens rebelled against the Perugians, surrendering to the Papal States; in 1384 the Florentines conquered the city and gave its present name, Castiglione Fiorentino.

During the fifteenth century, Castiglion Fiorentino suffered from repeated plague outbreaks, blamed at the time for the swampy areas that surrounded the city. At the dawn of the 16th century, the Sienese army, led by Pietro Strozzi, gained control of the area, keeping Castiglion Fiorentino until 1654, when the area became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. For the next two hundred years, the Medici Grand Dukes ruled the city, until in 1765 the House of Lorraine took power. The new dynasty encouraged the reclamation of the marshes, leading to a period of economic and demographic growth for Castiglion Fiorentino.

From 1800 to 1814, the city was manned by Napoleon's troops. After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the city was returned to Tuscany, to which it remained until 1861, when the Grand Duchy was annexed to the newly created Kingdom of Italy. Military activity during the Second World War damaged part of the city center and much of the surrounding countryside.

Main attractions

The first of the existing city walls, including Porta Fiorentina, the main entrance to the historic center of the city, was erected in the 13th century, then enlarged in the 14th century under the Perugians to connect the castle to the outer walls. An external gate containing the Medici coat of arms is located outside the walls, while the inside consists of three arches under a statue of the patron saint of the city, San Michele. The city's fortress, the Cassero, was completed in 1367. In the 15th century, the nuns of San Girolamo used the fortress as a convent, and in the 19th century much of the fortress had been destroyed, with the remaining structure used as a prison. .

The Pinacoteca, or municipal Pinacoteca, occupies the former church of Sant'Angelo. Built on the site of an Etruscan temple, the church of Sant'Angelo was built in Romanesque style between 1229 and 1239. The church served as a hospital, cellar and laboratory before being renovated and used as an official museum and art gallery .

In 1513 Vasari built a nine-arched loggia (Logge del Vasari) in Piazza del Comune, overlooking the valley. The Lodges were restored once between 1560 and 1570 and then again in the early part of the 20th century.

Nearby is Montecchio Castle, which was once donated to the British mercenary John Hawkwood.


Source: Wikipedia
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