Anghiari is one of Tuscany’s most evocative medieval hill towns yet it’s off the usual tourist itinerary. The small town center within the walls can easily be seen in a couple of hours but it makes a nice place to spend a couple of nights (or longer) exploring the area.
Anghiari is known for the Battle of Anghiari, an important battle between the Florentines and Milanese in 1440 for control of what became Tuscany. Leonardo da Vinci painted a fresco of the battle in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio but it’s no longer visible.
Things to See and Do in Anghiari
Anghiari is a great town for wandering. Strolling through the old town along narrow streets lined with ancient stone houses is the top thing to do. Flowers decorate doorways and balconies and interesting sights pop up unexpectedly. Walk along the walls in the high part of town for views of the valley below too.
- A good place to start your visit is at the Museo della Battaglia e di Anghiari, an interesting museum about Anghiari’s history and the famous battle. The museum is on Piazza Mameli, in the center of the old town (follow signs).
- Also on Piazza Mameli, visit the Palazzo Taglieschi State Museum (closed Mondays). Exhibits include terracotta by Andrea Della Robbia, a wooden Madonna by Jacopo della Quercia, and other paintings, frescoes, and sculptures. On the square is a replica of Della Robbia’s Madonna of Mercy.
- Palazzo Pretorio, the town hall, is on Piazza del Popolo in the highest part of town. The facade is decorated with coats of arms of past administrators and a 16th century fresco. Inside are remains of prison cells, a chapel with 15th century frescoes, and a Roman basin.
- Near Palazzo Pretorio, atop the Bastion of the Vicario, there’s a cafe terrace with good views. A little farther along, the tall bell tower, that now also houses a clock, was rebuilt in the early 17th century after being destroyed in 1502.
- Inside the 18th century Church of Santa Maria della Grazie are a few 15th and 16th century art works, including the original Della Robbia Madonna of Mercy.
- Badia of San Bartolomeo, once part of the Camaldolese monastery and Anghiari’s first church, was in existence by the early 12th century but remodeled in the 14th century. Inside are a 13th century wooden crucifix and an early 14th century Virgin and Child, sculpted from a single walnut trunk.
- The big Piazza Baldaccio is the market square with a few shops, bars, and eating places. A weekly outdoor market has been held in the square every Wednesday since 1388.
- On June 29, Anghiari holds the Palio della Vittoria, celebrating the battle victory. The main event is a foot race from the battle site up the hill to Piazza Baldaccio. A parade with participants in period costume, drummers, and flag throwers precedes the race. See photos on the Facebook page.
Where to Stay and Eat in Anghiari
We stayed at Agriturismo Val della Pieve, a comfortable farm house with swimming pool and free parking. It’s perfectly located just a few minutes walk from the center of town.
In the historic center, Hotel La Meridiana is a 3-star hotel with a restaurant.
- See more places to stay in and near Anghiari
We had a fabulous meal at Ristorante la Nena on Corso Matteoti that included pasta with mushrooms, tripe, and eggs with freshly shaved truffles. We also had a good lunch at Il Feudo del Vicario, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi 33, right in the historic center.
Places to go near Anghiari
Anghiari is about 20 miles east of Arezzo and near the border of Umbria. Arezzo is on a main rail line so if you’re using public transportation, take the train to Arezzo and then a bus to Anghiari. Having a car is ideal for exploring the area though.
- Arezzo is a larger hill town with a number of interesting sights. You may recognize Piazza Grande, the pretty main square, from the movie, Life is Beautiful. One of the top things to see is Piero della Francesca’s fresco cycle, the Legend of the True Cross. Arezzo is also known for its large antique fair held the last Sunday of the month.
- Sansepolcro was the birthplace of Piero della Francesca and 4 of his art works are in the Civic Museum. The town has a small historic center.
- Monterchi, another town with a small historic center, is known for Piero della Francesca’s fresco Madonna del Parto, now housed in a museum.
- Caprese Michelangelo was the birthplace of Michelangelo. Sights include the Michelangelo museum, medieval monuments, and churches.
- Chiusi della Verna is a big religious complex in a stunningly beautiful location on Monte Penna. It’s known as the location where Saint Francis is said to have received the stigmata.