Anghiari is a Tuscan town that deserves to be better known to visitors to Tuscany for its undoubted attractions rather than simply as the location of a battle that is in turn famous more for a lost painting than anything else. In the first place, the panoramic view from Anghiari is truly spectacular, made all the more so by the long, straight road (Via della Battaglia near Anghiari, then Via dei Tarlati further away) running across the flat floor of the Upper Tiber valley from Sansepolcro and up the steep hill to Anghiari. The view towards Anghiari is equally splendid, with the city walls rising up from a steep spur above the Tiber and the Sovara valleys.
Anghiari is located on the site of a Roman settlement but became prominent in the 11 C because of its strategic position on the trade routes linking central Italy with the Adriatic. The earliest extant reference to the town by name is in a document dated 1048, still preserved in the archives at Città di Castello. At that time the town belonged to the Camaldolesi monks (Order of Romualdo). However, the most important period in the history of the town is associated with the Battle of Anghiari which was fought in 1440 between the Visconti armies from Milan and those of Florence which were allied with the Pope. Machiavelli spoke about the battle in his Historiae fiorentinae and Leonardo da Vinci executed a huge and short-lived fresco of it in Florence.
The powerful monastery of S. Bartolomeo, which was later transformed by the Perugians into a defensive structure, and the Chiesa della Badia were the first large mediaeval buildings in Anghiari. The surrounding 12 C and 13 C wall remains almost intact and the town can be entered through three gateways, Sant Angelo, San Martino and Fiorentina. The apse of the Chiesa di Sant'Agostino and the Bastione del Vicario are actually incorporated into the city wall.
Passage in the historical town centre of Anghiari
The town centre was expanded in the 14 C when the Tarlati family commissioned the long road that leads to Sansepolcro and the loggia with fountains
located below Piazza Baldaccio (formerly Piazza del Mercatale),.
Piazza Mameli (formerly known as "L'antica piazza del Borghetto") in the heart of the town,
is the home of the two main museums of Anghiari, Palazzo del Marzocco and Palazzo
Palio della Battaglia
The Battle of Anghiari
Anghiari is famous for a battle fought and won on its territory on Wednesday 29th June 1440 by the Florentine Republic led by Micheletto Attendolo and Giampaolo Orsini against the Milanese army led by Niccolò Piccinino. When Machiavelli subsequently
wrote about the battle, he sarcastically remarked that twenty four hours of skirmishing produced
only a single death and that was when a soldier fell off his horse. Nevertheless, historically the outcome of the battle was very important
because it kept central Italy in the hands of the Florentines and, indeed, Machiavelli commented much more seriously on this
aspect in his Historiae fiorentinae.
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