Castelfranco Piandiscò

It is a municipality founded in 2014 with the name Castelfranco Piandiscò. Castelfranco and Pian di Scò are two towns of the province of Arezzo on the Setteponti road, right on the border with the metropolitan area of Florence, deep in the Balze of the Arno valley.

Castelfranco di Sopra is a member of the club “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” and one of the “terre nuove” (New lands), together with San Giovanni Valdarno and Terranuova Bracciolini, meaning towns that were founded by Florence to better protect the valley of the Arno in case of an attack by Arezzo.

Castelfranco was founded in 1296 in the area where the populated area named Casuberti was, following a project of Arnolfo di Cambio. It had a quadrangular diagram and a central square from which the principal streets began, these last perpendicular among them, reaching four city gates.

The name refers to the exclusion from taxes that had the people from the surrounding areas that chose to move inside the new town. During the 14th century the Town Hall and the city walls were completed. Arnolfo’s Tower or Bell Tower was part of the walls and it became the symbol and main point of access of the town.

The church of st. Tommaso was built during the 14th century and was progressively modified as the town grew bigger. The oratory of the company of the st. Sacramento (Oratorio della Compagnia del Ss. Sacramento) was finished in 1556, but it was modified during the 1600s.

The church of st. Filippo Neri, dedicated to the saint that was born in Castelfranco and was canonised in 1621. The building dates back to 1631 and has an elegant baroque façade. Inside the three-aisled church there is the marvellous “Rapture of st. Filippo Neri ” by Matteo Rosselli, one of the main florentine painters of the first half of the 17th century.

The most important religious building in Castelfranco di Sopra is out of the residential area and is the Abbey of st. Salvatore in Soffena, documented since the 11th century as a monastery, even though the church was built on a pre-existing building from the 9th/10th century. The toponym “Soffena” derives from Etruscan and shows that the area, through which passed an ancient Etruscan road that later became the consular road Cassia Vetus, was populated in ancient times. The church was rebuilt between the 13th and 14th centuries in a rotated position. Inside it there are a lot of frescoes made in the 15th century that show the passage from a late Italian gothic style to the Renaissance style.

Around Castelfranco there are lots of charming glimpses in the hamlets of Certignano, Pulicciano e Caspri.

Pian di Scò is also along the Setteponti road and the town developed around a baptismal church. With the birth of Castelfranco, Pian di Scò was joined to it and became an outpost against Arezzo and the most powerful Ghibellines families, the Ubertinis and the Pazzi of the Valdarno. In 1809, it became a municipality.

The precious parish church of st. Mary in Scò, documented since 1008, was modified during the 12th century and remains the same to this day. It has three aisles, as it is common in Romanesque churches in Casentino and Valdarno, and has some capitals in its columns with plants, animals and humans similar to St. Pietro in Gropina. Inside the church there is a “Madonna enthroned with child” probably made by Paolo Schiavo and a glazed terracotta by Ghibertis that represents “Madonna with child”.

The oratory of the Immaculate Conception (Oratorio dell’Immacolata Concezione) built during the Renaissance and restored at the end of the 17th century in a Baroque style is in the hamlet of Casabiondo.

Faella is a hamlet that was part of the Florentine country and that was later joined to the “terre nuove” and the “lega di Castelfranco” (League of Castelfranco), being incorporated inside the municipality of Castelfranco in 1809.

Vittorio Emanuele square in the center of the village of Castelfranco di Sopra

Church of San Filippo Neri, Castelfranco di Sopra

Ecstasy of San Filippo Neri by Matteo Rosselli (mid-17th century)

Parish church of Santa Maria in Scò

Parish church of Santa Maria in Scò

Abbey of San Salvatore in Soffena

Abbey of San Salvatore in Soffena

Le Balze dell’acqua zolfina

Sulfur water ring trail

Balze Natural Area