Traveling along the Setteponti road and the hiking routes mapped out by the CAI, you can find out a lot about the history of the area and discover traces of its medieval past, illuminated in the bridges that give the area its name.
Picture yourself leaving Arezzo and heading towards the Valdarno area. The first stop is the “Ponte Buriano,” also known as the “Ponte della Gioconda” by Leonardo Da Vinci. This bridge, depicted by the master, has stood the test of time and continues to stand proudly with its stone roots embedded in the Arno River. The image of this bridge, combined with the explosion of colors within the Ponte Buriano and Penna Natural Reserve that surrounds it, leaves a lasting impression. The next stop is the town of Pian di Scò with its ancient Romanesque bridge that you’ll see just before coming upon the Romanesque parish church of Saint Maria of Scò along a short stretch of the old “Cassia Vetus” road that follows the Resco stream. At the “Fondaccio” of Loro Ciuffenna, along the stream that gives the town its name, there is the Romanesque bridge of Loro Ciuffenna. This is one of the most intriguing and well-preserved bridges of the Setteponti area. Nearby there is an old customs house which strategically marks the confines between Pratomagno and the valley floor.
Anyone in search of peace in the countryside and the sacred charm of ancient churches can find it by walking along the Setteponti road and exploring its Romanesque churches and water mills. This route is dominated by silence so you can immerse yourself in nature and reconnect with yourself as you explore the medieval and Renaissance art and architecture found in this area of Arezzo.
Let’s start in the upper Valdarno area and walk towards Arezzo. We’ll start from the parish church Saint Maria in Scò, in the town of Pian di Scò which sits on the border between the Valdarno areas of Arezzo and Florence.
We’ll head towards Montemarciano, a medieval village at the top of the cliffs – the Grand Canyon of Tuscany. Here you can see the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie, dedicated to the Miraculous Virgin who was depicted in a fresco in the Masaccesco area.
The journey continues towards Loro Ciuffenna, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Here you can see one of the oldest water mills in Tuscany that is still in operation and learn about the ancient peasant traditions of this valley.
The oldest Romanesque parish church called the “Pieve” of Saint Peter in Gropino sits at the top of the Upper Valdarno, overlooking the Setteponti area. This church is considered a national monument due to its historical and artistic importance.
In the heart of the village of San Giustino, you’ll find the “Pieve di San Giustino” church. This parish church is hidden among the houses of this village and is probably one of the lesser known Romanesque churches of the Valdarno area. Its stone foundation was laid in the year 1000.
The next stop, heading out of San Giustino, is called Il Borro and it’s a must-see. This little gem is the work of Ferragamo, who reconstructed this perfect village in every detail. A small detour after San Giustino Valdarno leads you to Borro where time seems to have stopped and everything shines under the Tuscan sun. This is a dreamy village, perfect for a dream vacation complete with villas, gourmet restaurants and spas.
Heading back towards Arezzo, we stop in Castiglion Fibocchi. This medieval village is well-known for its Carnival of the Sons of Bocco, the famous baroque carnival character of Tuscany. This village is dotted with traces of its past, from the Town Hall with its clock tower to the hidden remnants of the early Christian parish church called San Quirico in the woods. The next place to visit is the Ponte Buriano and Penna Natural Reserve with the famous “Ponte Buriano” bridge. This bridge is the last one along the Setteponti Road before you reach the gates of the city of Arezzo.
An ancient road that offers many possible routes. Follow along the country roads and take the routes that lead to the narrow streets of the villages and you’ll take in some unexpected views of the Arezzo Valdarno area.
- For those who love strolling and hiking
- For those who love nature and history
- For those who travel alone
- For adventure lovers
- For those who like travelling with others
- Spirit of adventure
- A travel diary to jot down the important things to remember
- Hiking clothing and shoes
- Water bottle
- A camera