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Castelfranco di Sopra
Castelfranco Piandiscò
Medieval towns and country churches among the hills and the "Balze" of the Valdarno

Along the old Strada dei Sette Ponti (seven-bridge road) between the Arno and the slopes of Pratomagno, roughly halfway between Arezzo and Florence, you find the medieval towns of Castelfranco di Sopra and Pian Di Scò, now united in a single municipality. The road that takes you there is worth noting: along the way, you can admire one of the most quintessential Tuscan landscapes there is, a collage of vineyards, olive groves and woods in perfect harmony with history, nature and culture. The area is dotted with farms and farmhouses, nature reserves and simple, solemn Romanesque churches.

Right next to Castelfranco di Sopra, you cannot but admire the Arnolfo tower, a symbol of the town and the clearest remains of the castle that the Florentine government once built here. If you climb the tower, you can enjoy a privileged view over the magnificent Castelfranco countryside, in the foothills of the Apennines, and over the fairytale landscape of the Balze. Don't miss the early seventeenth-century church of San Filippo Neri, which contains works from the Florentine schools of Andrea del Sarto and Matteo Rosselli (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries respectively), and which has a notable frescoed ceiling. Piazza Vittorio Emanuele marks the real heart of the town: enter this square from the Porta Campana, and to your right you will find the town hall, which was built in the early 1300s.

At the gates of the town, surrounded by the green of olive groves and vineyards, you find the monastic complex of San Salvatore a Soffena, which comprises a church, a cloister and a convent. The abbey is mentioned in a document from the year 1014, and contains fifteenth-century frescoes by artists of the calibre of Paolo Schiavo, Bicci di Lorenzo and the Maestro Liberato da Rieti. But perhaps the most noteworthy artwork is the Annunciation by Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, known as Lo Scheggia, brother of Masaccio.

Walking north along the Strada dei Sette Ponti, you come to the medieval village of Pian di Scò and its old Romanesque church, Santa Maria Pian di Scò. The church's roof is supported by six breathtaking columns, with capitals adorned by human-like figures, animals and plant patterns.

In June, on the day of the feast of Corpus Christi, the streets of Castelfranco di Sopra are bedecked with flowers. This is the Infiorata, a tradition that dates back centuries, and which every year sees countless townspeople take part in decorating the streets.

Castelfranco Piandiscò falls along the Aretine Wine Road. The liquids to try here include the red wines Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG and Valdarno di Sopra DOC, plus a superb olive oil. Renowned meats like Pollo del Valdarno sit alongside some excellent charcuterie, such as tarese, a pork salami of impressive dimensions. The Zolfino bean is grown on the slopes of Pratomagno, on terraces between the olive groves. This bean is distinguished by its ultra-fine skin, which renders it highly versatile and easy to digest.

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Abbazia di San Salvatore a Soffena Places of worship Abbey of San Salvatore a Soffena
Default Naturalistic attractions Balze Natural Protected Area
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Castelfranco Piandiscò - Rhymes by an anonymous traveler Read the story of Castelfranco Piandiscò on Cover TOB
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