A small and charming village in the province of Siena, Cetona is located within the Valdichiana valley, on the border between Tuscany and Umbria. Resting on the green woods of Mount Cetona, this town offers an almost intact landscape, enriched by the charm of the medieval fortress dominating the town.
Cetona is considered one of the "most beautiful villages in Italy," not far from other jewels, such as Pienza, Montepulciano, Sarteano and Chiusi. About an hour away, we find Siena, Perugia, Arezzo, Assisi, and Orvieto. So, Cetona is the ideal base for getting to know a territory that has so much to offer to lovers of tourism, good food, wine, nature, and culture.
Cetona welcomes its visitors in Piazza Garibaldi, a large rectangular space built in the 16th century by Gian Luigi Vitelli. Vitelli wanted to make a new entrance to the medieval village, giving an ample visual space. For this reason, the Piazza is large compared to the village, and gathers around the "Rocca." The other buildings that delimit the Piazza are also of considerable historical and architectural value. These are the ancient Palazzo Vitelli, the former Santissima Annunziata Church, the church of San Michele Arcangelo and Le Logge. In the square, you can also find shops selling typical Tuscan products, Pippo's beautiful ceramics workshop, and wine shops.
Palazzo Minutelli, built around the middle of the 16th century, is the seat of the Town Hall. It preserves spaces of high artistic and historical value, with travertine portals and frames on the facade. Inside, the rooms painted by the painter Antonio Castelletti, including the current Mayor's Office, are worth a visit. The rooms decorated with refined stuccos; the Council Chamber with mythological-themed paintings; the historical archive of the Cetona community; the municipal Library and the Music room. Among the paintings preserved in Palazzo Minutelli, we note some works by the painter Lionello Balestrieri. He was born in Cetona and died here, after having worked for many years in Paris in the futurist circles. On the ground floor of Palazzo Minutelli is the Civic Museum for the Prehistory of Monte Cetona.
The Franciscan Hermitage of Santa Maria in Belverde stands at the foot of a large boulder of travertine, and, according to the tradition, St. Francis retired here to pray. The oldest part of the complex consists of three overlapping churches, the oldest built around the year 1000. From 1652 to 1694, before returning to perform its original function of a convent, it was used as a hermitage. The three oratories and the frescoes preserved here have undergone several restorations over the years.
Not far from the town of Cetona, stands the Convent of San Francesco, immersed in a suggestive natural setting. Founded according to tradition in 1212, it is composed of several parts, referable to several periods. Inside there are two very important wooden tables: a Madonna and Child, on a gold background, devoted to Sano di Pietro and a Madonna del Cardellino, devoted to Girolamo di Benvenuto.
Cetona is suitable for visitors of all ages and allows making a fascinating journey into prehistory. Starting from the Civic Museum for the Prehistory of Monte Cetona, the dive into the past continues in the Archaeological and Naturalistic Park and the Belverde Archeodrome. A path of about 2 km immersed in greenery accompanies visitors in a natural labyrinth. It is a small tour to discover the caves that were inhabited or used as places of worship during prehistoric times.
There are also many recreational and educational activities, allowing children to learn about the daily life of the prehistoric man in the Archeodrome. Here a village inspired by the Bronze Age has been rebuilt, with two life-size huts, and a camp dating back to the Paleolithic era.
A tip: after visiting the town and the suggested locations, take some time and walk through the small streets of the city. You will be immersed in atmospheres of ancient times, with romantic views, old buildings preserving memories, scents of classical dishes. Then stop in one of the country's trattorias for a day of "slow food." You can try "bico con prosciutto," "crostini toscani" and "pici all'aglione"... Enjoy Tuscany!!!
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