The Pratomagno massif

The Pratomagno mountainous massif is the ridge near the Apennines that to the northwest of Arezzo geographically divides Casentino from Valdarno Superiore, the first lands where the Arno River flows.

The highest peak of the massif, called Croce di Pratomagno, is located at 1.592 meters a.s.l. and takes its name from a large modular cross commissioned by the Franciscan father Luigi da Pietrasanta in 1926 and inaugurated on 2 September 1928. Other known peaks are Poggio Masserecci at 1.548 meters a.s.l., Poggio Uomo di Sasso at 1.537 meters a.s.l. and Monte Secchieta at 1.449 meters a.s.l.

Pratomagno covers various municipalities in Arezzo and Florence. In the province of Arezzo it includes the territories of Poppi, Montemignaio, Castel San Niccolò, Ortignano Raggiolo, Castel Focognano, Talla, Loro Ciuffenna, Castelfranco Piandiscò, and in the Florentine area Reggello, Pelago, Rufina and Londa.

The mountain takes its name from the large meadow (it. “prato”) that runs on the ridge, reachable from various directions, from whose top you can enjoy an extraordinary view over a large portion of Tuscany. To reach it, the best routes pass from Quota and Cetica in Casentino, from the mountain centers of Loro Ciuffenna such as Trappola, Chiassaia and Anciolina in Valdarno aretino, and from Vallombrosa on the Florentine side.

For those who climb on foot, the Casentino slopes are gentler, while those of Valdarnese are steeper and rockier. Throughout the territory there are springs that give life to streams that in the summer cross lush forests and meadows where many varieties of flowers are born.

The climate on the massif consists of harsh winters with abundant snowfall and cool summers. The mountain is rich in biodiversity. The entire ridge is protected by special European directives due to its high value. In its Florentine part it includes the Vallombrosa Biogenetic Nature Reserve with the tallest trees in Italy and the Bosco di Sant’Antonio, an integral area that houses the “Faggione” of Prato a Marcaccio, a huge beech.

Photographed in every season by hikers, cyclists and trekking enthusiasts, Pratomagno includes, especially on its slopes, delightful villages rich in history, art and traditions. In the Middle Ages there arose two monastic complexes of great importance. The Badia Santa Trinita in Alpe in the territory of Talla, at 950 meters a.s.l. on the southern slopes, was the first Benedictine monastery of Casentino, founded between 950 and 961 by the German hermits Pietro and Eriprando. Between the 11th and 12th centuries the abbey reached its maximum splendor, then began a slow decline and today it is reduced to fascinating ruins.

Between 1036 and 1050 arose the Vallombrosa Abbey in the municipal territory of Reggello, about 1.000 meters a.s.l. on the northern slopes. The Benedictine monastery was founded by St. Giovanni Gualberto, who also gave life to the Vallombrosian Congregation. Between the 13th and 17th centuries the abbey was enlarged and transformed several times, taking on its current appearance.

Pratomagno Cross

Pieve di San Pietro a Gropina and Pratomagno in the background

Along the Via dei Setteponti

Pratomagno massif

Pratomagno cross

Anciolina and the Valdarno in the background

Rocca Ricciarda on the slopes of Valdarno

Badia Santa Trinita in Alpe in the territory of Talla in Casentino

Ortignano Raggiolo on the slopes of Casentino

The large meadow on top of the massif