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Città della Pieve
Urban trekking

A walk through the alleyways of the historic centre of Città della Pieve

Between the hills of Umbria and Tuscany rises, dominating the Val di Chiana, Città della Pieve.

Between the hills of Umbria and Tuscany rises, dominating the Val di Chiana, Città della Pieve.

Its mediaeval historic centre is built of bricks in characteristic shades of more or less dark pink, still produced in the town today. This distinguishes it from many of the Umbrian towns, which are mainly made of stone.

Another peculiarity is its eagle shape, in honour of Emperor Frederick II of Swabia.

The presence of narrow, winding alleys is typical of the urban grid in the early municipal civilisation. These were an integral part of the defensive system in that they were impenetrable to enemies attacking on horseback; furthermore, the construction of narrow, labyrinthine streets made it possible to optimise the city space, densely populated in the medieval period, and to create shelter from the summer sun and cold winter winds.

The entire Itinerary of the Alleys of Città della Pieve awaits the tourist with its 19 stages indicated by blue signs.

Here we propose just a few of the best known alleys with curious names and unexpected panoramic views: a short urban trek of about 30 minutes that will allow you to discover Città della Pieve in an original and unusual way.

Stage 1
Vicolo Baciadonne

An unmissable destination for all lovers is Vicolo Baciadonne. Its mischievous name alludes precisely to the singular bottleneck that characterises it, where two passers-by who find themselves walking along it in opposite directions are forced to find themselves so close that their lips brush against each other.

However, popular tradition has it that it was built in the Middle Ages following a quarrel between two neighbouring families trying to separate their houses. With a width of about 53 cm, it is now considered one of the narrowest streets in Italy and one of the most popular attractions in the city. Finally, once you have walked down the alley, you will be surprised by the panoramic view of the Chiana Romana and Monte Cetona.

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Stage 2
Via del Barbacane

Not far from the entrance to the Baciadonne alley is Via del Barbacane, which owes its name to the presence of the medieval barbican: a defensive retaining wall used to protect the castle. In ancient times, it was also called Via del Funaro, due to the presence of some rope-making workshops.

On the other hand, many of the names of Pieve's alleys today recall the original activity carried out there: this is the case of Via delle Forbici (Scissors Street), which you will come across as you continue straight ahead, and where a bas-relief of a pair of scissors placed today on the walls of a house indicates its ancient tailoring activity.

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Stage 3
From Via Fiorenzuola to the ancient alleys of artisans and shopkeepers

From here, it is easy to get to Via Fiorenzuola, which leads to the ancient Piazza della Mercanzia, once much larger and home to a community of Florentine merchants. Today it has been renamed Piazza di Spagna.

Many workshops could be found along the narrower alleys: try to find Via delle Nottole, where the workshops of the craftsmen who made barrels were located, then Via del Fango and Via del Cocciaro where the handicraft production of terracotta vases took place, which you will reach passing in front of the Duomo, the Cathedral of Saints Gervasio and Protasio.

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Stage 4
Via Francesco Melosio

You can complete your walk by walking down Via Francesco Melosio, with its hidden panoramic views. It is named after the poet and writer of the same name (1609-1670) who was born in Città della Pieve and lived in various courts in Italy. He is known for having animated the cultural circle of Christina of Sweden in Rome as well as for his burlesque or tragic lyrics, inspired by news events of the time or his own experiences. He often used puns in his verses to express his reasons for wrongs suffered.

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