Città Slow

Città Slow - Slow Towns of Italy

Some "Slow Towns" and "Slow Cities" of Italy - Città Slow

Good living means having the opportunity to enjoy products and services that allow you to live in an easier and more pleasant way.

The Romans had a useful phrase: “festina lente” - make haste slowly. This was mostly an admonition against the time-wasting dangers of impetuousness, but in these modern days, when frantic activity can take over daily life to the extent that the joy goes out of it: festina lente - take some time to take some time. When visiting Italy, this can include utilising the best of the past to enjoy and enhance the possibilities of the present and the future. Among these gifts from the past are the "slow towns" of Italy - and don't forget the "slow food" available in them!

"Città Slow" in Tuscany and Umbria

Anghiari in Tuscany

Anghiari overlooks the Upper Tiber Valley and can be visited together with Sansepolcro which is a few km away on the flat plains of the valley floor. Aside from depictions of the battle that took place here on 29 June 1440, Anghiari is famous for its spectacular views and also has a very attractive historic centre. On the second Sunday of September there is a Palio della Balestra (crossbow tournament) when large numbers of citizens dress in mediaeval costume, one of several enjoyable festivals that take place here.

More about Anghiari.

Castelnuovo Berardenga

Castelnuovo Berardenga is the southernmost town of any size in the Chianti Classico wine zone. While the town itself is worth only a brief visit, the surrounding area is home to several of the most famous formal gardens in Tuscany, indeed in all of Italy. These include Villa Chigi Saracini, Villa di Geggiano (Villa Bianchi Bandinelli), and Villa di Monaciano. The comune organises Sunday excursions to combinations of interesting nearby sights - these are excellent value for money.

More about Castelnuovo Berardenga.

Castiglione del Lago

Castiglione del Lago lies on the shores of Lake Trasimeno in Umbria. A trip aound the lake, stopping at Castiglione del Lago and if possible visiting Isola Maggiore en route, is a pleasure not to be missed when visiting this part of Umbria. The main sights are the Castello del Leone (the Fortress of the Lion) which was built for the Emperor Frederick II by Elia di Cortona and finished in 1247. It has square towers on four of the corners and a triangular donjon known as the Mastio on the other. The Palazzo del Comune was built by Ascanio della Corgna in Renaissance style and is now the civic museum.

More about Lake Trasimeno.

Civitella in Val di Chiana

Civitella in Val di Chiana is located on a high ridge between the valley of the Chiani river and the Val d'Ambra, and providing spectacular views of both. Important sights in Civitella in Val di Chiana include the Chiesa di Santa Maria, the Rocca (Fortress) and the Palazzo Pretorio (Praetorian Palace). The Rocca, which was German headquarters during WW II, was extensively bombed and has not been restored. The Aretine gate suffered a similar fate, but the Siennese gate remains intact. This tranquil and charming village is well worth a visit.

More about Civitella in Val di Chiana.

Greve in Chianti in Tuscany, Italy

Greve in Chianti is effectively the market town of the Chianti Classico wine area. Unlike the majority of Chianti towns, Greve is located on the floor of a valley instead of on a hill top, about half-way along the scenic Chiantigiana highway (SS 222) that runs from Florence to Siena. Greve has an attractive, arcaded, triangular piazza (Piazza Matteotti) with several ceramics and wine shops, as well as restaurants. The hills surrounding Greve boast many beautiful agriturismi and other rural vacation accommodations, making Greve a centre for farm house holidays in this part of Tuscany. The Greve web site contains much useful information about Chianti.

More about Greve in Chianti.

Massa Marittima in the Maremma

Massa Marittima is still off the beaten track considering the beauty of its location and the interest of the town itself. Massa Marittima, despite its name, is in the "metaliferous hills" region of the Alta Maremma and not very near the sea. The town can be divided into three distinct areas, la Citta Vecchia (old city), la Città Nuova (new city) and the Borgo, each area being architecturally distinct. Massa Marittima possesses a magnificent cathedral situated in the splendid Piazza Garibaldi. The "Balestro del Girifalco" crossbow competition takes place twice a year on the first Sunday after May 20 and the 2nd Sunday of August.

More about Massa Marittima.

Orvieto, Italy is situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff, one of the most dramatic townscapes in Europe, rising above the vertical cliffs that are extended by defensive walls of the same stone. The facade of the Duomo of Orvieto, a masterpiece of Italian gothic art, is equally spectacular, consisting of bands of black and white stone decorated with bronze dragons, gold mosaics and marble bas-reliefs by Lorenzo Maitani. Other sights in and near Orvieto are the deep spiral Well of St. Patrick (Pozzo di San Patrizio) and other caves and tunnels, some dating from Etruscan times.

More about Orvieto.

San Miniato is located in the lower Arno valley on hills dominating the river plains halfway between Pisa and Florence. It has a fine historic centre set on the hill top with the Cathedral, the Episcopal Palace, the Municipal Palace and the Tower Fortress overlooking the Arno, Era and Egola valleys. The San Miniato National White Truffle Market is held here every year during the last three weeks of November. During the fair, apart from the sale of fresh truffles in various parts of the historical centre, San Miniato hosts stalls where you can eat and drink, and find a wide variety of Tuscan products.

More about San Miniato.

Todi in Umbria, Italy

Todi is within easy reach of Perugia and Orvieto. It was important to both the Etruscans and the Romans and is well worth a visit for its interesting Gothic and renaissance buildings, including the 11 C cathedral and 13 C palazzi. It has three circuits of walls, the innermost being Etruscan, the middle wall Roman, and the outside wall dating from the 6 C or 7 C. Todi's most striking church is the domed Renaissance Church of Santa Maria della Consolazione beautifully located just outside the walls.

More about Todi.


Festivals and fairs of Tuscany

Festivals, feste, sagre and fairs of Tuscany

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