Laterina Pergine Valdarno

Two different municipalities until 2018, nowadays Laterina and Pergine Valdarno are now a unique territorial entity, characterised by a mainly hilly landscape.

Laterina was born as a castle in the 11th century and since 1250 was a strategic outpost in the Valdarno under the rule of Arezzo that strengthened it in 1272 in order to slow down the advance of Florence in the valley.

In 1288, Florence conquered the fortress after a siege that saw Lupo di Farinata degli Uberti as a main figure, but in a negative way. The Florentines built a fortress but, in 1304, Ubertini and Pazzi of Valdarno took control of the castle and gave it to Arezzo. The 14th century was a troubled time for Laterina and finished with the permanent hegemony of Florence upon the territory of Arezzo in 1384.

Inside the historical centre of Laterina there still are many traces from the Middle Ages such as the Podestà Palace, the Guinigi Tower, the Ghianderino gate and the ruins of the city walls.

The “Propositura” of st. Ippolito and Cassiano, once the chapel of the castle, keeps some important works from the Florentine 14th and 15th centuries and the remains of a Roman mosaic from the Imperial era found in the locality of Le Pievi, where there was the destroyed baptismal church of st. Cassiano in Campavane; this church was built on the remains of a Roman building. Some frescoes of the late Renaissance era are inside the oratory of st. Biagio, built in the 15th century.

Outside Laterina there is the church of Our Lady of the Snow (Santa Maria della Neve), along Vecchia Aretina road, where there are some frescoes from the 14th century probably painted by the studio of Neri di Bicci.

Near Laterina there are the hamlets of: Ponticino, whose name derives from a Romanesque bridge (‘ponte’ in Italian) on the Ganascione stream, Casanuova, with the church of st. Pietro built during the Middle Ages, Monsoglio, with a beautiful villa from the late Renaissance, La Penna, with a mansion perched on the Arno river, Vitereta, with the church of st. Bartolomeo built in the 18th century, and Montozzi, born around the castle from the 12th century of the same name. In the point in which the Arno flows inside the Inferno valley, it is possible to look at the remains of the Romito bridge, a mediaeval crossing that is thought to be the one in the background of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci by some scholars instead of the Buriano bridge.

Pergine Valdarno was a town from the Etruscan times, as its name, derived from etruscan language, shows. Its church of st. Michele is documented since 1056, but the current aspect of the building derives from subsequent restorations, mainly done during the 19th century.

In the territory of Pergine, there is the hamlet of Pieve a Presciano, whose name derives from an ancient baptismal church, maybe early Christian, that was built along an important roman road that connected Arezzo and Siena through the Ambra valley, a piece of which was discovered not far from the religious building. During the 11th century, this church was under the rule of the mighty Agnano abbey and, during the 19th century, it was restored in a neoclassical style.

In the locality of Castelvecchio a Migliari there is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Snow (Santuario della Madonna della Neve) wanted by the famous mercenary captain and lord of the near destroyed castle John Hawkwood (italianised as Giovanni Acuto).

In Poggio Bagnoli, near a ferruginous spring, some finds linked to the worship of waters and nymphs have been discovered. Around the hamlet of Montalto there is a Grand Duke’s column, one of the four left in the territory of Arezzo made during the first half of the 19th century to help travellers to orient themselves in some of the main streets of the Grand Duchy. Lastly, along the road that connects Rimaggio and the Arno river there is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Valley (santuario di Santa Maria della Valle), built in the 17th century on the ruins of an ancient oratory that kept a “Madonna with Child” by some artist from Margarito d’Arezzo’s studio, which was worshipped by locals and that is shown to the public only during particular festivals.


Mosaic on the external wall of the Parish Church of Saints Hippolytus and Cassian, Laterina

Mosaic on the external wall of the Parish Church of Saints Hippolytus and Cassian, detail

Parish Church of Saints Hippolytus and Cassian, Laterina

Mosaic above the vault of the Parish Church

Parish Church of Saints Hippolytus and Cassian, Laterina

Guinigi tower, Laterina

Ghianderino door

Pergine Valdarno

Pergine Valdarno

Wooden Christ, a sculpture donated by Pergine Valsugana

Penna Dam, the upstream reservoir is located within the Ponte Buriano and Penna Nature Reserve

Romito Bridge, one of the possible bridges of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

Valle dell’Inferno and Bandella Nature Reserve