The municipal territory of Capolona, between the southern slopes of Pratomagno and the right riverbank of the Arno, largely corresponds with the ancient possessions of the Abbey of San Gennaro in Campoleone dating back to the 10th century.
When the Municipality of Capolona was established in 1808, the town hall was inaugurated in Castelluccio, the closest place to the ancient Abbey already abandoned for some time, but with the development of the town around the industrial site of the area of Ponte Caliano during the 20th century, the municipal seat was transferred to the gates of Casentino, where it is still well served by Via Umbro Casentinese and the Arezzo-Pratovecchio-Stia railway.
The visit to discover the territory can begin right from the place where the abbey was founded in 972 and later entrusted by the bishop of Arezzo Elemperto to the Benedictine monks of Cassino. From the 10th to the 12th century lived a period of great splendor, but its political influence led the Municipality of Arezzo to be attacked in 1214, forcing the abbot to cede the castles and lands under its jurisdiction. It was the beginning of a slow and inexorable decline that ended in 1527, when it was ruined by Charles of Bourbon, enemy of Florence. On the ruins of the abbey complex later rose Villa Bacci.
A short distance away is the town of Castelluccio, in reference to a small castle that controlled this part of the Arno River. Few traces of the medieval fortress remain, such as the so-called Portaccia. The Church of San Michele Arcangelo dates to the 14th century and is documented as Sant’Angelo in Fabriciano. In the second half of the 19th century, it was rebuilt and embellished by the bell tower with the clock instead of a small bell gable.
Continuing on the right riverbank of the Arno you will find Vado, a charming village whose name refers to an ancient ford on the river.
For long walks lovers, the Capolona area offers itineraries that go from the Arno riverbanks and in hill resorts from which you can enjoy unique views. Among the best-known places Cafaggio, where finds of Neolithic origin have resurfaced, Bibbiano, with the powerful tower turned bell tower of the parish church, and Belfiore, with the surviving tower of a castle mentioned since 1161.
The religious heritage of Capolona is also of great value. In Pieve San Giovanni, the ancient Sulpiciano with a panoramic view of the picturesque Valle delle Piagge, is the Pieve dei Santi Giovanni Battista and Martino. It is documented from the 10th century, but the current appearance is the result of various alterations, the most important of which occurred in the 18th century. In San Martino Sopr’Arno the Pieve di San Martino is cited in 1017 among the estates of the canons of the Aretine Church. Of the ancient place, transformed in the 19th century, remains the semicircular apse and some wall parts. In Cenina there is the Pieve di Sant’Anna, also this one dating back to the Middle Ages but several times modified over time.
The most important and well-known sacred building in Capolona is, however, the Pieve di Santa Maria in Sietina. The name refers to Satres, the god Saturn of the Etruscans to whom a temple was dedicated in this area, which was followed by an early Christian church and then the Romanesque triapsidal parish of the 13th century that we still admire today.
Its interior houses fresco cycles of great importance for studying the evolution of Arezzo painting between the 14th and 15th centuries. One can be dated to the period 1370/80 and is mainly attributed to the so-called Maestro di Pieve a Sietina, another can be dated to the 1490s and it was executed by the followers of Lorentino d’Andrea influenced by the art of Piero della Francesca.
This second cycle is linked to the Bacci family, Aretine merchants specialised in the spice and wool trade. An inscription in the village of Sietina recalls the marriage between Francesca di Onofrio da Pantaneto and Magio dei Bacci. Thanks to that ceremony, the Bacci commissioned new cycles of frescoes that joined those of the 14th century.
Pieve a Sietina
Badia di Campoleone