Castel Focognano and Rassina

It is a “comune sparso” (meaning a municipality made up by many small towns) of Casentino, on the eastern side of Pratomagno, Castel Focognano has been frequented since the Etruscan period, as evidenced by the place names “Rassina” and “Socana”.

There is a mighty castle already documented in 1028, wanted by the bishops of Arezzo and entrusted to the powerful abbey of SS. Flora and Lucilla. From the 12th to the 14th century first the Ubertini and later the Tarlati family controlled the area, which in 1404 became “podestà” (mayor) under the Florentine Republic.

In 1778 the administrative offices were moved from Castel Focognano to Rassina, a town flanked by the Arno river along the Umbro Casentinese road, decreeing the decline of the ancient fortified village. Rassina takes its name from Rasna or Rasenna, as the Etruscan people were calling themselves. The church of San Martino is the result of several renovations, the last of which was carried out after the Second World War. On a small hill near the village you can admire the Tower of Bellavista, probably of Langobard origin.

The archaeological area of Pieve a Socana preserves the remains of an Etruscan temple of the 5ht century BC, also used in Ancient Roman times, at least until the first century BC. Near the apse of the Pieve di Sant’Antonino you can see a beautiful sacrificial altar surrounded by a sacred enclosure, called “temenos“, east of the late-archaic temple, where the original entrance staircase is still visible.

In the 9th century this was a small medieval church, although some scholars speak of an early Christian cult building, built between the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. to hide the traces of the pagan place. In the 11th century the building was replaced by a larger church with three apses, with a cylindrical tower of Ravenna influence. A different hypothesis, however, refers to the circular bell tower to be the remains of an Ancient Roman tower. In the 13th century the church was reduced in size and only one apse remained. Part of the cylindrical bell tower was used as the basis for a new hexagonal bell tower.

The delightful mountain village of Carda is home to the Church of SS. Flora and Lucilla dating back to the 9th century, renovated many times. The surviving part of a stone ciborium dates back to that time, with two peacocks drinking under a cross. In Badia a Cornano there was a Camaldolese abbey of the 11th century. In the place there is still the Church of San Salvatore. The precious rural church of st. Eleuterio, in the locality of Salutio, on the road that connects Rassina to Talla, is of early medieval origin but was rebuilt in Romanesque style between the 11th and 13th centuries. Inside there are works of various times.