The history of Casentino

To discover the area of Casentino

last update:20/06/2017 09:49:02

Stretching between Florence and Arezzo, this beautifully secluded, wide, oval-shaped valley is surrounded by gentle hills which gradually ascend to mountains, on one side climbing to reach the impressive Apennines and on the opposite side to the Pratomagno, whose ridge separates Casentino from the Chianti region on the other side. It is the ring of mountains which has prevented the  expansion  of motorways and major railways, preserving the valley’s natural state.These ancient woods are full of packed with wild boar, deer, porcini mushrooms and well-marked hiking trails. Casentino is where Dante wrote parts of his Divine Comedy and it is also where Saint Francis of Assisi received his stigmata. Located only 50 minutes from Florence, 50 minutes from Arezzo, and if you head to Pontassieve from Florence, you can drive up 1,050 metres up to Consuma, the historic mountain pass between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany and do what droves of Italians do to escape the Florentine summer heat: eat some of Italy’s best schiacciata and relax in the mountain shade.
 
Casentino is often called La Toscana Nascosta (Hidden Tuscany), and cursory looks at Internet and print travel guides suggest that most completely ignore this gorgeous area of the region. But if you like discovering the real Italy, and I mean non-touristy trattorias with local, fresh food where only Italian is spoken, off-the-beaten-track walks and high-altitude air that’s so fresh you can bite it, an adventure in Casentino is for you.
 
Characterised by its mountains, Casentino covers about 700 square kilometres and is bordered by the ridges of Mount Falterona, Mount Pratomagno and the Catenaia Alps (the group of mountains that separate Casentino from the Valtiberina). The Arno River starts on Mount Falterona and flows along the base of the Casentino valley. The National Park of the Casentinese Forests, Monte Falterona and Campigna (its full name) is the largest one in Italy, covering an area of aprox. 36.000 hectares (about 15.000 acres). The area’s rugged landscape, high altitude and abundance of natural spring water together with its remoteness has for millennia given  Casentino the reputation that it still carries today—one of spiritual retreat. For centuries, monasteries, sanctuaries, and hermitages have flourished in the area, and many of these ancient monastic retreats continue to thrive to this day.
The municipalities of the Casetino valley are:

- Bibbiena
- Capolona
- Castel Focognano 
- Castel San Niccolò
- Poppi 
- Pratovecchio
- Stia
- Subbiano

The larger towns are all located in the Arno valley, the biggest being Bibbiena and Poppi. The villages located on the neighbouring hills and mountains are much smaller. These are Chitignano, Chiusi della Verna, Montemignaio, Ortignano-Raggiolo and Talla.

A land with food traditions and artisan culture, and ancient, of which today everyone can enjoy the products.
The delicacies that you can taste in the restaurants in the Casentino are prepared with products from the forests, such as chestnuts, truffle and wild meat. Also try the excellent home-made pasta, the local cheeses and the cold cuts. The meat in the Casentino is excellent thanks to the closeness of the areas where the Romagnola and chianina cows breed freely. and to important produce such as that of honeydew d 'fir, the chestnut honey, processing cloth Casentino, wood, stone and wrought iron.