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Rondine, Cittadella della Pace

About three kilometers northwest from Ponte Buriano, nestled in the Ponte a Buriano and Penna Nature Reserve, stands the medieval village of Rondine.

From 1976 the village was gradually recovered and frequented by a group of young people led by Franco Vaccari, who experienced the importance of hospitality and intercultural dialogue inspired by Giorgio La Pira and Lorenzo Milani.

Today the place is known all over the world for the Citadella della Pace, founded by Vaccari, an organization that for many years has worked for the reduction of armed conflicts in the world through educational and training projects. Its Studentato Internazionale welcomes young people from countries at war with each other and helps them to know their supposed enemies through daily coexistence, study, and dialogue. Values that later the students will bring to their homelands as ambassadors of peace.

Next to the village you can admire the remains of the Castle of Rondine, one of the most powerful fortresses of the Arezzo Middle Ages, placed on a large rock on the right riverbank of the Arno and probably dating back to the early 12th century.

In 1215 Rondine passed to the Municipality of Arezzo, but the Bostoli Guelphs took possession of it by force, to return it the following year together with the village in exchange for forgiveness for military action. In 1251 the Bostoli occupied the fortress again, after being exiled along with the rest of the Guelph faction from the city. In 1287 it was still invaded by the Guelphs who left Arezzo, which made the place their stronghold.

In 1289, after the victorious Battle of Campaldino, the Florentines advanced into the Arezzo territory and conquered Rondine, which remained under their aegis until 1323. In July of that year the bishop and lord of Arezzo Guido Tarlati managed to take over the castle after months of siege. The conquest is also represented in a small form of the “Cenotaph of Guido Tarlati” in the Arezzo cathedral, built around 1330 by the Sienese Agostino di Giovanni and Agnolo di Ventura, which shows the masonry circle and the top of the crenelated tower. After the submission of Arezzo to Florence in 1384, Rondine also came definitively under the control of the new dominant.

In 1502 the leader Vitellozzo Vitelli made the castle a foothold for his raids in support of the rebellion of Arezzo to the Florentine Republic. In the same period the place was documented in the “Map of the Valdichiana” by Leonardo da Vinci, made around 1503 in the guise of cartographer and supported by Cesare Borgia.

From the 17th century the fortress gradually lost its importance. Its walls became a quarry of materials used to build the new houses of the village, inhabited until the 60s of the last century by generations of farmers.

The Church of the SS. Peter and Paul survived the events, documented from the 90s of the 12th century under the patronage of the Benedictine monks of Santa Trinita in Alpe. The current building is the daughter of an 18th-century reconstruction and the massive restoration following the earthquake of 1919.

Looking today at the ruins of the castle, surrounded by vegetation, you can intuit the rectangular plant with the powerful tower, originally about twenty meters high. Outside the formwork, which was accessed by two doors, a sturdy curtain almost completely disappeared encircled the hill and much of the village overlooking the Arno.