The Battle of Anghiari, a fresco by Leonardo da Vinci, every trace of it has disappeared and nothing is known of its fate. The disappearance of the work, conceived for the Fifteenth Century Exhibition of Palazzo Vecchio to celebrate the Florentine victory over the Milanese troops, has taken on the contours of a mystery that has fascinated people for over five hundred years in the splendid medieval village of Valtiberina.
As a precious jewel enclosed by the imposing twentieth-century walls, Anghiari stands on a small promontory overlooking the Valtiberina, drawn by the flow of the two rivers and crossed by a delightful climbing and descending trail.
The town in the province of Arezzo, known in the Middle Ages for its characteristics as an inviolable stronghold and today as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, is located in a land of delicate borders and balances. It was June 29th, 1440 when the famous battle was fought that reaffirmed Florentine rule over Tuscany. A brief confrontation, not particularly bloody, so much so that Niccolò Machiavelli wrote ironically that one day a single soldier died, but because he fell from his horse. However, the episode marks an epochal passage for the story of Tuscany celebrated by Leonardo with his lost masterpiece. A moment one can savour along the path of the borough’s walls, stopping at the top of the panoramic boulevard overlooking the plain of the battle and then devoting a visit to the Anghiari Museum in the Marzocco Palace.
The passage of time has left important signs in the churches and palaces of the historic centre, such as the Campano (Clock Tower), the Pretorio Palace, the Teatro dei Ricomposti and the Cassero, but time seems to have stopped among the secular forests dotted with monasteries. Among the valuable artistic testimonies is the collection of paintings, wooden sculptures from the Tuscan and Umbrian schools and other objects preserved in the state museum of Palazzo Taglieschi, home of the Natività e Santi by Andrea della Robbia and the splendid polychrome sculpture depicting the Virgin, Jacopo's masterpiece in Oak. Also worth a visit is the Museum of Mercy and the Gardens of the Vicarage.
The cultural vitality makes Anghiari a town to visit at all times of the year. Get lost in the streets and squares, browse through the antique shops of arts and crafts or stop in one of the many grocery stores to taste the typical dish (handmade spaghetti with water and wheat flour), bread and Valtiberina cheese, this is the best way to immerse oneself in the atmosphere of this little medieval jewel.
Fairs and exhibitions are regularly accompanied by concerts and popular festivals, such as the famous Scampanata held every five years in May and the “Tovaglia a Quadri", an initiative halfway between a festival and theatre performance in August.