Overview of Poppi
Poppi is a small town located on a hill overlooking the Arno Valley. It is considered as the prettiest and the most historical interesting town of the whole Casentino’s region, being an example of Tuscan feudal architecture.
Poppi’s area had its first origins during Roman civilization as documented in historical records which are testifying the existence of several settlements. The main one was named “Pagus Pupius”, emplaced in a strategic position surveying Via Flaminia.
If we want to cast a glance at its history between the middle Ages and the15th century, we can start by a key act from the 12th century, signed by the Emperor Enrich IV, validating that Poppi - together with Battifolle and Porciano localities- was a feudal site granted to the Count Guido Guerra dei Guidi.
In the second half of the 13th century the Counts Guidi di Poppi, exponents of the Ghibelline’s faction, Emperor’s followers, were subjugated by the contrary faction: the Guelphs from Florence, Pope’s adherents.
On 11th June 1289 took place the historic Battle of Campaldino – showing the way from Pratovecchio and Poppi - between Guelphs and Ghibellines.
Guelph forces were composed by Florence’s troops and other allied troops coming from Pistoia, Lucca, Sienna and Prato, all commanded by the mercenary condottiere Amerigo di Narbona.
Ghibelline forces were composed by the Aretine’s regular army, as well as by some troops loyal to the Bishop Guglielmino degli Ubertini, Pope’s opponent.
The day was won by the Guelphs and secured them in Florence, but without any territorial acquisition in Casentino.
On 1290, Florence’s army was coming back from an unsuccessful attack against Arezzo and devastated the Casentino’s territory, setting alight the Castle of Poppi
The Castle of Poppi is the main epic monument in the Casentino’s region.
Its original architecture lets deduce that it was basically set up around the 10th century, at the times of the invasions of the Longobards and the Gaelic’s. After its arson the Counts Guidi di Poppi entrusted the architect Jacopo Tedesco to rebuild the castle. The Count’s son commissioned its enlargement to Arnolfo di Cambio, considered as the greatest architect of those times, who was also designing the left wind and the courtyard. This enlargement conferred to the Castle a similitude to Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
The Castle, perfectly conserved over the centuries, is hosting the seat of Poppi’s Commune.
Many large rooms have been designated to house a Museum, which is keeping an important collection of masterpieces; the Historic Archive; a rich Library containing precious incunabula books and on the 2cnd floor there is its ancient wonderful Chapel.
In 1440 the Castle was over helmed and enforced to surrender, passing under the dominion of Florence. The town of Poppi became a Vicariate Seat detaining the entire Casentino’s territory and the high Florentines exponents came to reside in the Castle renamed it Palazzo Pretorio.
Furthermore the Castle, there are several beautiful monuments to visit in Poppi, like:
- The Church of the Madonna del Morbo. Built up in the 17th century it is a unique circular plan church of the epoch.
- The Abbey of San Fedele. Coming back from the 13th century is built in Vallombrosian style.
Where to eat:
- Ristorante “La Torricella”. A big and quite formal restaurant divided in two lounges. The smaller one is particularly well positioned looking at the Castle’s area.
It has a good traditional Casentinese cuisine offering also tasty typical Tuscan and Italian dishes. Desserts are homemade and the wine cellar contains a wide selection of Tuscan wines.
Price per person is around 30 – 40 euros.
Where to sleep :
Main Towns in Casentino
Anghiari, Bibbiena, Camaldoli,
Chiusi della Verna, Monterchi, Poppi, Pratovecchio, San Sepolcro.
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