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Barga, Poppi, Anghiari

The villages in Tuscany are jewels to be discovered in the autumn, when they reveal their most authentic soul and the colours of the stones blend with those of nature.

The angular form of the ancient castle of Anghiari is probably at the origin of the name of the village – castrum angulare in Latin. Another interpretation derives from the cluster of gravel, accumulated by the river Tiber over millennia, on which the historic centre is built, offering a breathtaking panoramic view of the valley. The Anghiaresi retain a fighting spirit that harks back to the plain at the foot of the medieval village, around which the spirits of warriors who fought in the Battle of Anghiari inspired Piero della Francesca’s frescos of the battles of Constantine and of Heraclius in the neighbouring town of Arezzo.

Barga is immersed in the green and rustic beauty of the Garfagnana, enveloped in the healthy and fragrant mantle of the woods and dotted with ancient villages. The Valle del Serchio enchanted Giovanni Pascoli, and visitors discover the same magic by following the streets and alleys of Barga, leading to the millennial Duomo. The urban structure of Barga has remained more or less that of the municipal village in the 12 to 14th century, marked by a spiderweb of streets that open up among irregular buildings.

The medieval village of Poppi lies in the centre of the Casentino and is a walled city topped by the Guidi castle, a prototype for Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Poppi shows a different Tuscany, the Casentino, a land of Romanesque castles and parishes, of Dante’s places, where the imprint of the Middle Ages is even stronger. From this part of Tuscany where the Arno lies in the midst of the Apennine mountains, everything is gloomier, more feudal and mystical. The abundance of water and woods has made these places beloved by mystics and hermits, and a source of inspiration for restless poets of the likes of Dino Campana.