Montevarchi

Montevarchi is a city in the province of Arezzo in Tuscany.

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Map of Montevarchi

Montevarchi has its own train station on the Florence-Rome line. Journey time from Florence about 1 hour and trains run almost every hour. It’s 5 km from the Valdarno junction of the A1 Autostrada by car.

The town is sufficiently small to be explored on foot. Via Roma, the main street, is closed to traffic after 10.00 am making walking more pleasant.

There are a number of small museums in Montevarchi but the most interesting are:

  • Museo del Cassero, corner of Piazza Vittorio Veneto and Via Trieste, Thursdays to Sundays, 10.00 to 13.00 and 15.00 to 18.00 or 19.00 at weekends. Over 500 Italian sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries, an epoch usually overlooked in Italian museums, featuring works by Monti, Bortolotti and Galeffi. The Cassero, or barracks, building was sensitively restored in 2010 to house this museum and is wheelchair friendly. Admission 3 euro (reduced 1 euro).
  • Museo dell’Arte Sacra (Museum of sacred art), Via Isidoro del Lungo, 4, Saturdays and Sundays, 10.00 to 12.00 and 16.00 to 18. 00. It’s a tiny museum, little more than 2 rooms, but the star of the show is the Andrea della Robbia temple, constructed in 1505 in the adjoining church, then dismantled in 1709 and finally reconstructed in its present position in 1973. It alone is worth the admission price of 3 euro (reduced 1 euro).
  • Villa Masini, Via del Pestello 22-24. A short walk away from Montevarchi’s centre (turn right at the south-east end of Via Roma to pass under the railway bridge, then cross the roundabout and the villa is on the right), this is a superb example of a villa built in the “Liberty” style. It’s a private house occupied by the granddaughter of its original owner, the local entrepreneur Angiolo Masini, so is open to the public a limited number of Saturday afternoons mid-March to mid-June: look for details of guided tours (in Italian) on the gates.
  • Centro Storico (the town’s oval shaped medieval centre) is very atmospheric and well worth exploring. Unfortunately the defensive walls and gates were demolished long ago. You can still glimpse parts of the town walls by the Dogana river and the paving of Piazza Vittorio Veneto has a series of lights following the line of the walls discovered during building works. However Montevarchi’s central street pattern survives intact from the Middle Ages: two oval shaped roads, one inside the other, linked by Via Roma up the middle and lots of narrow alleys across. On Via Poggio Bracciolini is the Chiostro di Cennano (Cennano cloister) which frequently has free exhibitions and concerts in summer.

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