Poppi an architectural jewel

  • 52014 Poppi AR, Italia
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The medieval village of Poppi, located at the top of a hill, is unmistakable for the presence of a large castle that dominates the entire ancient town and a large part of the Casentino. The village, still surrounded by its mighty walls, presents itself to the visitor with a beautiful and interesting architectural harmony that makes its visit particularly pleasant. Poppi, for good reason, can be considered the architectural jewel of this Tuscan valley in the land of Arezzo, and it is no coincidence that it has been included among the most beautiful villages in Italy. Undoubtedly the most attractive and interesting element of Poppi is the Conti Guidi Castle. This building dates back to the 13th century and it is one of the most visited monuments in the whole province of Arezzo. Of particular interest in this castle are the Rilliana Library that preserves 25,000 ancient volumes, the ballroom, the high tower that offers incredible views and the chapel of the Counts Guidi decorated with frescoes of the fourteenth century by Taddeo Gaddi, a pupil of Giotto. Another important tourist destination in Poppi is the Abbey of San Fedele. The church is to be admired for its imposing architectural structure dating back to the 13th century and for its valuable works of art, first of all a Madonna with Child of the end of the 13th century. Interesting to visit in Poppi are also the church dedicated to the Saints Marco and Lorenzo and the Oratory of the Madonna del Morbo, a hexagonal building of the 17th century. As already said, the whole historical center of the village deserves a careful visit for the architecture of its palaces, the elegant villages accompanied by arcades, the narrow alleys. Entering the town from Fronzola door, the "Torre dei Diavoli" (Devils' Tower) strikes our attention, its history linked to the vicissitudes of Countess Madelda make it a place of particular suggestion. Various cultural and folkloristic events take place periodically in Poppi. The most interesting one is certainly the "Gusto dei Guidi" held every year in August. It is an event dedicated to Tuscan wine and to the typical food products of Casentino. Visiting Poppi in this occasion means having access to many fascinating places of ancient palaces such as cellars and gardens which are usually closed to tourist visits. From Poppi it is possible to enjoy suggestive views of the whole Casentino valley. In the green countryside west of the village there is a beautiful golf course with a view of the village. At the foot of the hill of Poppi, along the regional road, there is Ponte a Poppi, a name that derives from the presence of a big bridge that crosses the river Arno. Here, heading towards Stia, are to be seen the Church of Certomondo and the Convent of the Capuchin Friars. A little further on, at the traffic circle, is the Column of Dante. This is located at the beginning of the Campaldino Plain, a place of Dante's memory that in 1289 was the scene of the bloody Battle of Campaldino between Guelphs and Ghibellines. Of great interest is also the whole territory of the Municipality of Poppi which extends from the slopes of Pratomagno up to the Apennine ridge. To this territory belongs Camaldoli, a place of international renown both as a place of faith and as a center of cultural and natural interest. Near Camaldoli there is the ancient mountain resort of Badia Prataglia where it is worth visiting the beautiful church with an extraordinary crypt, once part of the ancient abbey dating back to the end of the tenth century. This center, immersed in the National Park of the Casentino Forests, is the starting point of many naturalistic excursions. On the road between Camaldoli and Poppi there is Moggiona, a village that until a few decades ago based its economy on wood craftsmanship for centuries. Today this ancient "art" that was mostly aimed at the realization of "bigoni" (dialectal term for bigonce, wooden containers made of staves for the collection of grapes) and small objects is remembered by an interesting ecomuseum here. Lierna is another small village to visit, the ancient part of the village is of great interest, as well as the beautiful little church located on the top of a staircase in which are preserved beautiful works of art of the seventeenth century. On the side of the Massif of Pratomagno is to know Quota, small and steep villages will lead us between the architecture particularly interesting and cured of this village. From Quota starts the road that leads to the ridge of the famous mountain, geographical division between Casentino and Valdarno.

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