Many are the traditional events in the Tuscan Valtiberina, and though they vary widely in genre, they are all united by the beauty of communal joy. Arts and crafts, sport, music, enogastronomy and theatre: here are the dates for your diary in Anghiari.
Late April and early May see the return of an event that has enlivened Anghiari’s pretty historic centre for more than forty years now. A travelling fair, it sets out its stalls along the most beautiful streets, lanes, piazzas and nooks and crannies of the town. One of the most important events in Anghiari’s calendar, it forms a fundamental part of the local economy and symbolises the old traditions rooted deep in the Valtiberina.
The market takes you on a fascinating walk through the town, with various artistic and artisan boutiques opening specially for the occasion. It has the finest in handmade wares and a vast range of craft products, whether wood, leather, textiles, wrought iron, ceramics or precious metals.
The craft market fair, which is intended to exalt manual crafts as true art forms, has always been the perfect opportunity to promote craftmanship of all kinds. It also allows artisans from all corners of Italy to share knowledge and experiences.
Official website: mostramercatovaltiberina.it
The Palio della Vittoria takes place in Anghiari every 29 June, to commemorate the Battle of Anghiari, which was fought on 29 June 1440 on the plain that lies between the town and that of Sansepolcro. It celebrates the victory of Florentine forces and their allies over the Milanese armies of Filippo Maria Visconti. One of Tuscany’s oldest races, it sees contestants run over what was the battlefield, starting from the tabernacle known as the Maestà di Santa Maria alla Vittoria and finishing at the old market square, now Piazza Baldaccio Bruni. The route is characterised by a difficult ascent at la Ruga di San Martino (Saint Martin’s fold), with slopes that sometimes exceed a 10% gradient, and physical contact between the athletes – pushing, tripping and shirt-pulling – is common. The prize goes to the winning municipality rather than an individual contestant: the victor is the town that they represent.
For information: Palio della Vittoria
Orchestral, choral and chamber music issues from every square, church and cloister during the Anghiari Festival. London’s Southbank Sinfonia, an orchestra of exceptional young talents from every corner of the globe, comes here every July for a week of spellbinding concerts. The orchestra collaborates with leading organisations like the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. It is conducted by the internationally-renowned maestro Simon Over, who also happens to be the Festival’s artistic director, and who was made an honorary citizen of Anghiari in 2010.
Official website: anghiarifestival.org
Tovaglia a Quadri is an event of “poor theatre” and local cuisine which takes place in a little piazza (il Poggiolini) in the town’s ancient centre. An open-air osteria is where we lay our scene, where a different story is told every August, performed by the townspeople who live in the piazza. The story involves real memories and local myth, social problems and universal themes. This form of communal theatre shows food and history as integral components of local identity. By savouring a four-course meal of local dishes (like crostini with liver or lard, bringoli al sugo finto, pork and Chianina beef and Monte Mercole pecorino cheese with honey), one can happily get involved in a story of the town where the protagonists are the citizens themselves.
More information: anghiarifestival.org
The Intrepida is a non-competitive cycling event which was inaugurated in 2012 and which takes place in October. It covers three different routes (a short one at 42km, a long one at 85km, and the “intrepid” at 120km), all of which are open to cyclists with a bicycle built before 1987 and equally vintage cycling clothing. 40% of the Intrepida’s three courses run over gravel tracks, and are punctuated by refreshment stations which stand in the localities of Ponte alla Piera, Castello di Galbino, Castello di Sorci, Felcino Nero and Lippiano.
After the cycling, there is a classic lunch based on bringoli (a type of thick pasta) from Anghiari. The event is organised by the sports association GS FRATRES DYNAMIS BIKE, which was founded by a group of friends with a shared passion for cycling and cycling history.
In only a few years, the Intrepida has become a classic of vintage bicycle touring, with more than a thousand people from all over Italy and elsewhere taking part. It is second only in prestige and numbers to the Eroica.
Official website: lintrepida.it
From October to November, the historic centre of Anghiari opens its doors to the hotly-anticipated autumnal event known as the “Centogusti dell’Appennino”, a market-fair dedicated to the world of agritourism and enogastronomy. Companies promote their products with food and wine tastings, from distinctive stalls spread throughout the medieval town. Visitors can discover and get to know the varied world of rural tourism and the typical, traditional flavours of the surrounding lands.
The event also offers a few spectacles through the old streets of the medieval town. The mouthwatering menu that the Osteria dei Centogusti puts on for the period is not to be missed.
More information: Meet Valtiberina