Casentino is one of the four main valleys in the province of Arezzo, located in the north of the area and it is the first land bathed by the Arno river, which has its source on the Falterona Mountain, at an altitude of 1370 metres. To the east its natural boundary is the Apennine ridge beyond which lies the Romagna. To the north, beyond the Falterona Mountain there is the Mugello Valley in the Province of Florence.
The Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, a UNESCO World Heritage site
Surrounded by mountainous areas with reliefs covered by extensive wooded areas largely included in the Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, Casentino is the ideal place for those who want to explore the ancient and majestic forests but also for those who want to take a dip in the past thanks to many medieval villages that form the valley.
Casentino, a land of castles
Artistic masterpieces scattered among the churches and museums of the area, are just waiting to be discovered. Many castles, towers and fortifications can still be seen in the Casentino area, although fewer in number than the original, but which take visitors to the area back to the splendour and magic of a bygone era: among those that can still be visited, the castle of the Counts Guidi in Poppi, the castle of Romena and the castle of Porciano tell of the importance of the valley in medieval times.
Casentino is also well known from an archaeological point of view; indeed, many Etruscan and Roman finds can be seen in the interesting archaeological museum in Bibbiena. Two important Etruscan sites can be visited at any time: the Pieve di Socana with its large and beautiful sacrificial altar from the 5th century b.C. and the Lago degli Idoli on the Falterona mountain. Even the great poet, Dante Alighieri mentioned this valley in his work, the divine Comedy. Dante was in Casentino several times indeed, first during the famous Battle of Campaldino, between the Guelphs and later during his exile as a guest of the Counts Guidi, the noble and powerful family that was absolute master of the upper part of Casentino from the beginning of the 11th century until the middle of the 14th century.
A valley rich in spirituality
However, Casentino has a number of artistic and, above all, religious points of interest, including: the Pieve di Romena (a Romanesque church in the municipality of Pratovecchio Stia), the Sanctuary of La Verna, the Monastery of Camaldoli, the Hermitage of Camaldoli, the Marian sanctuary-monastery of Santa Maria del Sasso in Bibbiena and the 10th-century Romanesque Pieve of Badia Prataglia. However, there are many churches of great artistic interest, including the Pieve di Stia, the Pieve di Montemignaio, the Propositura di Pratovecchio, the Badia di San Fedele and the Propositura di Bibbiena.
Casentino cloth, a traditional craftsmanship always in fashion
In addition, not to be missed is a stop at the Museum of Wool Art in Stia, an example of industrial archaeology with machinery from the first industrial phase and its tactile route that accompanies visitors on their discovery of the museum and where they can admire the famous Casentino cloth, also worn by the actress Audrey Hepburn in the film "Breakfast at Tiffany's".