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The Loggia by Vasari at the Piazza del Municipio Castiglion Fiorentino
Castiglion Fiorentino is a small, walled city in eastern Tuscany, in the province of Arezzo, between the cities of Arezzomarker and Cortonamarker. It is well known for its annual festivals and Etruscan archeological site.

Geography

Castiglion Fiorentino lies at the centre of a triangle formed by the important cities of Florencemarker, Sienamarker and Perugiamarker. Situated on a hilltop, 345 meters above sea level, the town overlooks the Val di Chio and the Preappenines. Currently, just over 12000 people live in the city. The village of Manciano, known locally as "Misericordia", lies a mile to the west.

History

Due to the overall infrastructure, town walls, and building architecture, for many years scholars considered the town to have been established in the late medieval time frame. More recent excavations, however, have found the remains of an Etruscan city wall (ca. 4th century B.C.) underneath the current Piazzale del Cassero, and have discovered the remains of an Etruscan temple under one of the town's churches, la chiesa di Sant'Angelo, which was built in the twelfth century.

Documents from the tenth century have referenced a town named "Castiglione" in the feudal property of the Marquis of the Saint Mary Mountain. During the eleventh century, the town became a part of the Diocese of Arezzo. From the twelfth century until about 1290, the town was known as Castiglion Aretino, and was closely associated with the nearby city of Arezzo. About 1290, the city of Arezzo was defeated by Florence, and Castiglion Aretino became part of the Florentine Republic. Arezzo and Sienamarker joined forces against the Florentines in later years and reconquered Castiglion, which was then fortified under the direction of Bishop Guido Tarlati, Lord of Arezzo. Following Tarlati's death in 1336, Florence again gained control of Castiglion, until 1344,, when the city of Perugiamarker gained control of the town, which was renamed Castiglione Perugino. In 1369 the townspeople revolted against the Perugians, and by 1384 the Florentines seized the town and bestowed its current name, Castiglione Fiorentino.

During the fifteenth century, Castiglion Fiorentino suffered from repeated outbreaks of the plague, blamed at the time on the marshy areas surrounding the city. At the dawn of the sixteenth century, Siena, led by Pietro Strozzi, gained control of the area, holding Castiglion Fiorentino unil 1654, when the Medicis of Florence again regained power over the region. For the next two hundred years, the Medici Grand Dukes ruled the city, until in 1765 the Lorena Dukes gained power. The Lorena family encourage the reclamation of marshlands, leading to a period of economic and population growth for Castiglion Fiorentino.

From 1800 to 1814, the town was garrisoned by Napoleon's troops. Several years after that, the town joined the Tuscan Grand Dukedom, where they remained until 1861, when they were annexed to the Reign of Italy by King Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoia. Military activity during World War II damaged part of the town center as well as much of the surrounding countryside.

Sights

Views from Castiglion
The first of the existing city walls, including Porta Fiorentina, the main entrance to the town's historical center, was erected in the 13th century, then enlarged in the 14th under the Perugians to connect the castle to the outside walls. An anti-gate containing the Medici coat of arms is located outside of the walls, while the inside of the gate is constructed of three arches under a statue of the town's patron saint, S. Michele. The town's fortress, the Cassero, was completed in 1367. In the 15th century, the nuns of S. Girolamo used the fortress as a convent, and by the 19th century much of the fortress had been destroyed, with the remaining structure used as a prison.

The Pinacoteca, or Municipal Art Gallery, occupies the former church of Sant'Angelo. Built on the site of an Etruscan temple, the church of Sant'Angelo was built in Romanesque style between 1229 and 1239. The church has served as a hospital, wine cellar and workshop before being renovated and used as an official museum and art gallery.

In 1513 Vasari constructed a nine arch loggia (Logge del Vasari) in Piazza del Comune, overlooking the valley. The Logge were restored once between 1560 and 1570 and then again in the first part of the 20th century.

A focal point for the local nightlife is a pub by the name of the Velvet Underground, which is named after the band of the same name. It often features live bands from a wide variety of musical genres, including Vanessa Peters, Here Be Dragons, Sax Gordon, and many other acts. Another bar, Regiro's is where you can find locals hanging out.

Nearby is the Castello di Montecchio, which once was given to the British mercenary Giovanni Acuto (John Hawkwood).

Culture

Castiglion also has many festivals throughout the year including the famous "Palio dei Rioni" on the third Sunday of June. Similar to the festival in Sienamarker, the Palio dei Rioni is a horse race around Piazza Garibaldi, including a colourful and energetic display of the ancient custom of flag-waving, which dates back to the 13th century. During the week leading up to Easter Sunday, the parade along the city's streets, re-enacting a scene from the Passion as they have done annually for the past four hundred years.

In addition to the spring poppies, summer sunflowers and the famous Tuscan Cypress and Olive trees the beautiful green hillsides and country lanes are a must for any traveller any time of the year.

Economy

Much of the town's economy is based on agricultural and cattle ranching. Other residents are employed at pasta factories, sausage factories and sugarhouses. Some artisans create ceramics, and an additional 27% of the town's workers are employed by the service industry.

Education

Young children are educated at a school within the town. Older children attend secondary school in Arezzo.

In June, 1989, Texas A&M Universitymarker opened the Santa Chiara Study Center in Castiglion Fiorentino. Approximately 100 students from Texas A&M and other American universities study at Santa Chiara each semester, studying landscape architecture, art, architecture, literature, and international business. The Santa Chiara center is named after the building in which it is found, which is a former convent of the Order of Poor Clares. The building still contains the Church of Saint Clare (Santa Chiara in Italian), although it is now considered to be structurally unsound and is not used. Found on the southeast edge of town, the building has also been used as a girl's academy, but was vacant when Texas A&M acquired and restored the building.

Notable People from Castiglion Fiorentino



Twin cities



References



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