Casentino Valley


The Casentino is the name of the upper valley of the Arno, through which the river flows from its source in Monte Falterona as far as the vicinity of Arezzo. Here its waters escape from the confining Apennines into the plain and continue more placidly towards Florence. The Arno rises at no great distance from its brother, the Tiber, and runs parallel to it for a while, as if both had been marked out to share a splendid destiny. Indeed they are separated only by a sharp ridge, high up on which the monasteries of La Verna and Camandoli stand sentinel over their respective valleys.


But the basing of the youthful Arno is more smiling than that of the Tiber, greener and less rugged, its gracious contours wonderfully balanced by the hand of nature and the work of those who ave populated and cultivated it whit intelligence and simplicity. The Casentino is approached by two roads. The principal on connects Florence with Arezzo and runs north and south through the valley, entering it via the Consuma pass at the Florence end and at Giovi at the Arezzo end .
The second road comes in from Romagna across the Mandrioli pass. Up-stream from Arezzo to Bibbiena the valley is narrow and winding. It then widens out as far Pratovecchio to from a perfect amphitheatre of gentle slopes rising to the Pratomagno ridges on the west and on the east to the heights dominated by Monte Falterona, in which Camandoli, La Verna and Catenaia are situated.


Its geographic position in the north-west of Tuscany once rendered the Casentino more a perpetual object of feudal possession than a thoroughfare. It was coveted by the Florentine who continually strove to wrest it from Arezzo.

The Guidi family of Poppi held estates in the valley and kept watch over them from Castles, still standing today, that occupied the most formidable and lovely positions: Romena, Porciano, Caselleone, Castel San Niccolò, Borgo alla Collina, Monte Mignaio and Fronzola names familiar to Dante and in many instances mentioned by him. Bibbiena and fertile lands in its vicinity belonged to the warlike Tarlatis and Ubertinis of Arezzo; and it was the plain of Campaldino, not far from Poppi, that fate chose as the scene of the bloody battle which ended the long standing struggle between the Guelph and Ghibellines (1289). The secluded situation and mystical beauty of the Casentino have ever recommended its forest-covered heights as an ideal region for spiritual retreat. Here the clamour of civil strife penetrated as no more than a murmur from some distant storm at sea.


Here San Francesco climbed to La Verna which became the place beloved most for the rest of his life and on whose "Crudo Sasso" (bare rock) he received the stigmata. Here San Romualdo founded a hermitage at Camaldoli whit the soughing of the wind through the forest as his only companion.

Every spot Hereabouts was beloved by Dante, who came here first as young knight to fight at Campaldino and later as a wandering exile from Florence. Cool, sparkling streams with famous names like the Archiano still tumble down ceaselessly to swell the Arno. The Casentino Forest National Parch has been recently set up in the secular forests which cover the mountains in the northen valley.

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In the Surroundings

Arezzo Valley
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 Arno Valley

 Chiana Valley

Tiber Valley



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