Foiano della Chiana is located on the highest point of a range of hills between the Maestro della Chiana channel and the stream Esse; this place was populated since prehistory, as the ancient finds show.
The Etruscan presence is documented by the necropolis, found in the area of the church of st. Francis, that contains tombs that date back to the 6th and 4th centuries BC. Cisternella is the most important Roman find and is a water tank with a nymphaeum of a villa from the Republican Age of Rome.
The mediaeval town of Foiano is cited in documents from the 11th century and in 1084 is the first town in Chiana Valley to declare itself as a free town. During the 12th century it fell under the control of Siena and later under Arezzo’s. In the second half of the 13th century, the settlement had city walls made from bricks, later destroyed and rebuilt between 1337 and 1348 by Florence, its new ruler. A second and wider layer of city walls was built by the Florentine Republic between 1476 and 1480, giving to Foiano castle its permanent oval shape that is still noticeable today.
Between the 14th and 15th centuries, the swamping of Chiana valley in the territory of Foiano reached its maximum width. Thanks to the Medicis’ and Lorena’s governments, swamps were gradually drained between the 1500s and the 1800s, thus obtaining important fertile land. The historical centre of Foiano has many sights to be seen and that give a magical background to the Foiano Carnival, one of the most ancient in Italy. At the oldest parts of the city the access is granted by the Collegiata Gate and the Old Castle Gate, inside the first town walls, and also by the Cortonese Gate and Senese Gate, in the second town walls. Among the main buildings in town there are the Town Hall, built in the 15th century, and the Town Tower with clock, from the 18th century, and the Market Loggia from the 16th century.
Churches are the main keepers of Foiano’s artistic heritage. In town there are a lot of glazed terracottas, these make a scattered Della Robbia museum. The most important church is the Collegiata of saints Martino and Leonardo, built in the 16th century and restored in the 18th. The fourteenth century church of the Most Holy Trinity (chiesa della ss. Trinità) keeps the Risen Christ that is used for the folkloristic “Flight of the Christ” during Holy Saturday. The church of st. Michael Archangel or st. Domenico was erected in the 14th century, but its contemporary style is due to various restorations.
The ex church of Our Lady of the Brotherhood (Santa Maria della Fraternità), also called church of st. Eufemia, was built in 1392 and nowadays inside it, there is the Municipal Museum of Foiano della Chiana. Among the masterpieces of this museum there is the “Madonna with child” by Andrea della Robbia, made around 1460.
The old benedictine monastery houses now a school and also the Municipal Gallery “Furio del Furia”, whereas there still is, right next to the building, the evocative ex church from 17th century called La Carbonaia (coal hole) because of its use after the monastery was suppressed.
The church of st. Francis, out of the city centre, was built from 1492 to 1516; it has some of the most beautiful glazed terracottas by Della Robbias of the entire Arezzo province; these were made between the end of the 15th and the first part of the 16th centuries.
Around Foiano della Chiana there are a lot of interesting places: in Pozzo della Chiana there is the Temple of St. Stefano to the Victory of 1569, attributed to Bartolomeo Ammannati and Giorgio Vasari, that celebrates the victory of Florentines against Senese on the 2nd of August 1554 that set forth the birth of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. In the locality La Pace, there is the church of St. Cecilia, built in the 16th century. The church of Our Lady of the Graces of the Dock (Santa Maria delle Grazie al Porto) was built in 1662 at around 1 km from Foiano, not far from the dock used to reach Castiglion Fiorentino by boat crossing the Chiana Swamp. In Via del Porto there is also the Military Cemetery of Commonwealth, where are buried soldiers from the UK or the british colonies that fought for the freedom of the Arezzo territory.
Logge del Grano
Grand Ducal Palace
The Church of the Collegiate of Saints Martino and Leonardo
Coronation of the Virgin with Angels and Saints, Luca Signorelli, Church of the Collegiate
Madonna della Cintola with Saint Thomas and Saint Leonardo, Andrea Della Robbia, Church of the Collegiate
Church of San Francesco
Church of San Francesco
Vergine dello Spasimo, Fra’ Ambrogio della Robbia (1515). Life-size statues in the Church of San Francesco.
Gesù e la Vergine intercedono con l’Eterno (1495-1500) Andrea e Giovanni della Robbia, Church of San Francesco
Madonna col Bambino, Andrea della Robbia (c. 1460), Church of Santa Maria della Fraternita
Church of San Michele Arcangelo
Ascensione di Gesù by Andrea e Giovanni della Robbia (1495-1500), Church of San Michele Arcangelo
Temple of Santo Stefano della Vittoria, Bartolommeo Ammannati (1569), Pozzo della Chiana
Commonwealth War Cemetery, fallen soldiers of World War II.