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Journey to the Italy of AIAs: Foiano della Chiana and Sinalunga, traditions, tastes and innovation in the heart of Tuscany

5 January 2024 | Insights, News

More or less halfway between Foiano della Chiana and Sinalunga, in the Val di Chiana, an area steeped in history, breathtaking landscapes and unique gastronomic traditions, lies the industrial and commercial area of Farniole – Bisciano.

This corner of Italy tells a story of economic growth, entrepreneurship, and industrial quality that is intertwined with Tuscany’s cultural roots and focus on beauty. That is why we chose it as a new destination on our journey through AIA Italy.

Foiano della Chiana

We begin this leg of our journey through AIA Italy with some historical background on Foiano della Chiana. An ancient Tuscan village founded by the Etruscans in the 6th century B.C., Foiano has an important history that spans the centuries.

After the expansion of Etruscan civilization in the 6th century B.C., the area suffered Roman rule and subsequent barbarian invasions that caused the desolation of the fertile Chianina lands. In medieval times, Foiano was the first community in the valley to have a town charter in 1084, declaring itself a free and independent municipality.

In the 12th century, the village fell temporarily under the rule of Siena, followed by the Aretines until 1336. Later, Foiano was besieged and razed by the Florentines in 1336, only to be rebuilt soon after. The Florentine Republic restored the octagonal red brick walls with tall towers.

In 1525, the Medici began land reclamation, which was completed in 1886 under the Lorraine.

The history of Foiano is immortalized in Vasari’s fresco, Battle of Scannagallo (1554), which can be seen in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.

What to see in Foiano: on the way to craft traditions

The historic center of Foiano della Chiana, surrounded by two city walls, is distinguished by its clear Renaissance style. Attractions to visit include the Church of the Holy Trinity, which houses a painting by Pomarancio, and the Church of Santa Maria della Fraternita, dating from the 15th century, which houses a glazed terracotta attributed to Luca and Andrea della Robbia.

Outside the first city wall is the Collegiate Church of San Martino, which houses a painting by Luca Signorelli depicting the Coronation of the Virgin with Angels and Saints, as well as a glazed terracotta called Madonna della Cintola attributed to Andrea della Robbia.

The Della Robbia family, famous in the 15th and 16th centuries for their special technique of working with terracotta called glazing, left a significant imprint on Foiano della Chiana. The secret of this technique, which allowed the works to be displayed outdoors without damaging them, was jealously guarded by the family.

Basic materials included water, tin oxide and pure flint, while tin oxide was used for colors for white, cobalt for blue and copper for green.

Sinalunga

The other center located next to Farniole AIA is Sinalunga, a charming medieval village situated in the hills between the Sienese Chiana Valley and the Ombrone Valley, near Siena and on the border between the provinces of Arezzo and Perugia. The town is divided into two parts, Sinalunga Paese at the top and Pieve di Sinalunga at the bottom.

This enchanting place is nestled in the land of the Crete, famous for its hot springs and with a rich history related to the Etruscans. The region is a haven of wellness and hospitality, deeply rooted in food and wine. Local specialties include tagliata di Chianina, a legendary white cattle descended from the ox apis sacred to the Etruscans, and the renowned Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

The latter, derived from an ancient clonal selection of Sangiovese known as Prugnolo Gentile, has made the Sinalunga wine-growing area one of the most important in the region, as also celebrated by Francesco Redi’s 17th-century Bacchus in Tuscany.

In 1864, a Royal Decree changed the previous name of Asinalonga to Sinalunga. According to Repetti’s Dizionario Geografico Fisico e Storico della Toscana, the toponym Asinalonga was derived from the morphological characteristics of the place, particularly from a long inlet(Sinus Longus) formed by the Foenna Stream on the western edge of the Val di Chiana.

In the past, the environment was marshy until the Republic of Siena built embankments in the Middle Ages to drain water to the central Chiana Valley. This reduced the flooded area, but it split into three small areas that were still wet, leading to a change of the toponym from Sinus Longus to Sina Longa. For wayfarers, this became Ad Sina Longa, towards Sina Longa or, more simply, Asinalonga.

In 782 CE, Asinalonga began to define its own identity. Infeuded to the Cacciaconti family, it became a free commune in 1303 and a vicariate seat for the Republic of Siena. In the 16th century, it was occupied by Charles V of Spain, orienting Sinalunga toward the protection of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

What to see in Sinalunga: cultural treasures to explore

The Collegiate Church of San Biagio in Scrofiano, built in the 13th century and renovated in the 16th and 17th centuries, houses a valuable collection of paintings, sacred furnishings and precious fabrics. Among the most significant works are two altarpieces by Domenico Cresti, an Immaculate Conception and a Holy Conversation, and paintings by Tuscan artists of later centuries.

The Church of Santa Croce, with the Marriage of the Virgin attributed to Luca Signorelli, is another must-see. In the old town, the bell tower of the medieval Praetorian Palace, erected between 1337 and 1346, offers a historic view. The palace, the seat of civil authority, has coats of arms of the Podestà from both the Republic of Siena and Medici eras .

A particular attraction is the pillory, an instrument of torture, located on the right side of the main portal, used to expose the condemned to public ridicule.

The cuisine of the Chiana Valley: a unique taste experience

Local cuisine is another gem of this region. The intense and authentic flavors of traditional dishes capture the essence of rural life. From meat specialties to truffle delicacies, every bite is a journey into the flavors of Tuscany. Local restaurants, often run by families for generations, offer a warm welcome and dishes that win over the palate.

In this area, you can enjoy traditional Chianina country dishes, with special emphasis on the famous steak, made with meat certified and guaranteed by the I.G.P. Vitellone Bianco dell’Appennino Centrale. During the Easter season, the ciambellino becomes the protagonist, a large flour and egg cookie with a characteristic doughnut shape, to be enjoyed dipped in Vin Santo.

The area is also part of the Terre di Arezzo Wine Route, an itinerary that traverses the Arezzo wine-growing area, offering the opportunity to explore and savor local food and wine excellence, including the area’s DOC and DOCG wines.

The Industrial and Artisan area of Farniole – Bisciano, between shopping, industry and innovation

In this context rich in history and tradition is the Industrial and Artisanal area of Farniole – Bisciano. Characterized by a dynamic business environment, this area is home to a mosaic of innovative companies that contribute to the region’s economic progress.

Among the most important realities of this area, on a commercial area of 30,000 square meters, is Valdichiana Village, one of the largest factory outlets in central Italy, with about 140 stores dedicated to big names, a large playground and a wide choice in catering.

Located in the territory of the town of Sinalunga, in the province of Siena, Tendonificio Valdichiana has extensive experience in the field of roofing, from tarpaulins for boating to fireproof fabrics, from upholstery to PVC partitions. Specializing in the creation of custom tarpaulins, over the years it has become the local benchmark for purchasing high-quality products. These items are made of fine materials and follow a fully customized design pattern.

Founded in 1968 as a craft workshop for the production of window frames, Becherini has become more and more specialized over the years, becoming an established player in the production of different types of industrial closures. By paying attention to market needs and adopting advanced technologies, the company today is able to cater to various markets with strip windows, folding doors and emergency exit doors in industrial and artisan fields.

Farniole – Bisciano businesses: from the present to the future with ultra-broadband

The area between Foiano della Chiana and Sinalunga emerges as a place where past and present coexist harmoniously. History, places to visit, local cuisine and the industrial area of Farniole – Bisciano converge in a fascinating tale of prosperity, identity and dynamism. This region represents a perfect synthesis of the Italian essence, where tradition blends with innovation, creating a unique and inspiring environment.

Thanks to the presence of a nice variety of businesses, the area continues on its development path, making a significant contribution to the country’s economic energy.

Soon, this journey will reach another major milestone: its important industrial area will finally be integrated into the global network, thanks to the installation of a modernfiber-optic infrastructure built by FibreConnect, in collaboration with ISP partner Speedy.

speedy

This new possibility will enable businesses to express their full productive potential, freeing themselves from the limitations of a slow and unreliable connection.

Another step forward for Italy toward an increasingly connected and innovative future.