Ortignano Raggiolo

The municipality of Ortignano Raggiolo consists of the two ancient municipalities of Ortignano and Raggiolo, in an area crossed by the Teggina stream that goes from Pratomagno to the Arno river. The chestnut forests that surround both towns give a mystique dimension to visitors, particularly during summer.

Ortignano, from the latin “Hortinius”, has its most ancient part perched on a hill; at the top of this hill there was a castle, now lost. The fortified town is cited for the first time in 1225 and in it there is the church of st. Margherita and Matteo, which became a parish church in 1699.

Before reaching Ortignano there is the hamlet of San Piero in Frassino where the church of st. Pietro and Paolo has a 17th century painting by Pier Dandini. Visiting the hamlet of Badia a Tega, where there is a small Camaldolese abbey, it is possible to look at the Romanesque church of st. Antonio.

Raggiolo, member of the club “Most Beautiful Villages of Italy”, was a place where Langobards stayed during the early Middle Ages and so it became an important strategic place in the Casentinese side of Pratomagno, on the border between the dioceses of Arezzo and Fiesole.

Cited since the 10th century, as a fief given to Goffredo di Ildebrando by the emperor Otto I the Great, from the 1200s it was a possession of Counts Guidi, who strengthened its fortifications. During the first half of the 14th century, it ended up under the rule of Arezzo, first governed by the Ubertinis and, in 1325, by the Tarlati of Pietramala. Raggiolo entered under the sphere of influence of Florence during the second half of the 14th century and then tried uselessly to regain its independence.

In 1440 the castle was destroyed by the Milanese army, who was at war with Florence, led by Niccolò Piccinino. It was decided not to rebuild the heavily damaged parts, but to completely abandon the place. At the time of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, some settlers from Corsica started populating the place again leading to the rebirth of Raggiolo.

In the central square of Raggiolo is found the church of st. Michele Archangel, built where the Palace of the Count Guido Novello was, which became a parish church during the 18th century. Inside this church there are two important statues of 13th century Florentine art: the “Madonna with child” of the studio of Donatello and the “Redeemer” made by Andrea Ferrucci, pupil of Andrea del Verrocchio.

Tourists in Raggiolo will be amazed by the steep paved alleys and go through them to visit the Museum of Chestnut with the old drying room and go down and reach the restructured Mill of the Morino on the Barbozzaia stream.