Monte San Savino stands on the western side of the Valdichiana Aretina, opposite Cortona and perched on a mountain overlooking the Esse valley. It’s a deeply historic village where various traces of the Etruscan civilization have been found.
Over the centuries, the town’s fate was inextricably linked with the clashes between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. The latter had the upper hand, bringing the town under Ubertini (a noble family from Arezzo) rule until 1306 when the town fell under Florentine and Guelph jurisdiction. In 1337, Monte San Savino was ruled by Perugia and then Siena, and in 1384 fell back under Florentine dominion, which sent a Podestà and vicars in order to manage justice in the town.
Monte San Savino reached the height of its splendor between the second half of the 1400s and 1500s, when the noble branch of the Ciocchi-Di Monte family blossomed here. The family was originally from Florence and its members included illustrious figures such as the cardinal Antonio, one of the most influential Renaissance cardinals, who was dear to Julius II and close to the Medici popes.
The historic town still shows traces of that golden age. The Porta Fiorentina in the Cassero is one such example, and is also home to the Cassero Museum which is dedicated to the town’s ancient ceramic traditions. Equally as striking are the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Vertighe, the small but picturesque churches of Santa Chiara, Sant’Agostino and San Giovanni. Passing through the centre you’ll come across the Palazzo Di Monte, the Logge dei Mercanti designed by Nanni di Baccio Bigio, and finally the historic Ghetto with its impressive Synagogue.
Only a few minutes away from Monte San Savino is Marciano della Chiana, an unmissable medieval village with deeply historical roots; its Castle is absolutely breathtaking, towering over the hill immersed in the Valdichiana Aretina countryside.
We recommend taking a brief visit to Lucignano, where – other than its magnificent Castle – the Madonna delle Querce sanctuary stands out, a project credited to Giorgio Vasari.
Every weekend of the second Sunday of September, the Sagra della Porchetta (Pork Festival) takes place. The event is absolutely unmissable with its spectacular tastings and wine that boasts over fifty varieties.
Pork has made Monte San Savino a household name across Italy; the town actually holds the record for the longest pork in the world. If your travels happen to pass here, hunt down a delicatessen inside the village so you don’t miss out on the chance to try it.