- Castel Focognano
- Castel S. Niccolò
- Chiusi della Verna
- Ortignano Raggiolo
- 1 Poppi
- 2 Stia
- Strada in Casentino
- Subbiano - near Arezzo
Casentino is in Tuscany where the Arno river is born (then goes on to Florence and Pisa): the valley is shaped like a basket, with mountains all around. You can arrive here from Florence or from Arezzo. From Florence (about one hour by car) you can take the Passo della Consuma starting Pontassieve; from Arezzo (about half an hour by car) you can arrive directly following the Arno river. Here the peak of Monte Falco reaches 1658 m (5440 ft). Casentino is a deep-green land of Castles, romanesque Churches, Sanctuaries. ..such as Poppi Castle, a Manor of Conti Guidi Family, that is actually well conserved; Romena Castle, Porciano Castle, Chitignano Castle etc... Large stretches of woods, dominated by silver firs and beeches are found inside the 'Foreste Casentinesi' National Park. The National Park "Foreste Casentinesi" lies on the northern Appennine crest between Tuscany and Romagna, where deer, wild boar, eagle and even the wolf use to live. The Park covers an area of 36.000 hectars, mainly covered with woods of firs, oaks, beechs and chestnunts. Istoric roads, climbing Appennines recall closeknit ties between the valley and Florence, Romagna, Arezzo.
Closest airports are Florence, but Pisa, Bologna and Rome are also suitable.
By car from Florence airport: follow directions to Pontassieve, then to the Consuma Pass and continue down to Bibbiena/Poppi. (About 1,1/2hours). Otherwise take the A1 motorway south exiting at Arezzo then head towards Bibbiena/Poppi (about 1 and 1/2 hours).
By car from Pisa airport: take the Firenze Mare motorway to Florence exit at Firenze Sud and take the road for Pontassieve and Consuma Pass or continue on A1 motorway towards Rome exiting at Arezzo.
From Arezzo there is also the local railway LFI that arrives in all the towns of the valley.
The best way to reach all the discovering corners is the car, but you can reach the valley even by train (Arezzo-Stia) or by bus (From Florence the Sita Bus service)
Everywhere in Casentino valley you will find invaluable signs of history and art. All villages scattered in the valley have either a castle, a square, a church, or walls which are the magnificent heritage that the Middle Ages and Renassance left in these lands.Some of the castles lie in ruins, but some are magnificent, like Poppi Castle. The Castle of the Guidi Family in Poppi Village was built in the XIII century. Everywhere you can find masterpieces of the Della Robbia school and of famous painters like Sandro Botticelli, Cola da Camerino, Domenico del Ghirlandaio and Bicci di Lorenzo. The landscape is great, breathtaking. The villages and sites are not overcrowded, actually, and that makes siteseeingh enjoyable especially if you are travelling with children for your family holidays
Some of the castles lie in ruines, but some are magnificent, like Poppi Castle: the Castle of the Guidi Family in Poppi Village was built in the XIII century. After the end of Conti Guidi Family, it was the place where Florence's Vicars lived. It has meny similarities with Palazzo Vecchio in Florence It shows a facade with mullioned windows with 2 lights and a high tower, it is surrounded by walls and a large moat. The castle is well conserved and contains the Rilliana Historic library (incunabola and manuscripts) a small museum about the famous Campaldino battle (1289) and a Chapel with Taddeo Gaddi's frescoes. The castle is open all the year long with an entrance fee (4 euros in 2004). Being the castle owned by the Poppi Community, it is even possible to celebrate a civil marriage into the castle main room.
The National Park "Foreste Casentinesi" lies on the northern Appennine crest between Tuscany and Romagna. It covers an area of 36.000 hectars. Here the peak of Monte Falco reaches 1658 m (5440 ft). Here River Arno flows towards Florence. More than 80% of the park is covered with woodland: silver fir woods near Camaldoli monastry, century old beeches covering La Verna mountain near S.Francis Monastry, big chestnunt trees, mixed woods of oak, maple, elm. The park areas welcome the richest fauna in northern Appennines: roe deer, red deer, fallow deer, all them may be spotted while feeding in the park meadows and clearings. Wolves find in the park an ideal habitat. More than 80 resident bird species, and eagles too, nest in the woods. Foreste Casentinesi National Park includes the Monastry of Camaldoli was estabilished in 1012 (S. Romualdo, Camaldolesian Congregation). Foreste Casentinesi National Park includes also the Monastry of La Verna: is the Monastry where St. Francis spent the last years of his life and received his Stigmata in 1224.