I’m going to Anghiari!
Well, not right away, of course. But I just paid a small deposit to rent a lovely house in Anghiari with a friend in June. (The second photo above is the view from the upper terrace.)
I realize that June 2010 is a long way off, and as much as I love planning trips, this is a bit extreme! But I need a lift. I find November depressing enough, and I’m still feeling exhausted after a bad flu bug last week. So anything happy and exciting – such as thinking about a trip -- is welcome.
I don’t know a great deal about Anghiari. However, I do know that it’s a small town near Arezzo, on the border of Tuscany and Umbria. So, the location sounds great for interesting day trips. I would love to see Arezzo again, and revisit Piero della Francesca’s stunning fresco cycle, The Legend of the True Cross.
I fact, I’d like to follow the informal Piero della Francesca trail, including seeing works in Sansepolcro, which is near his home village and located only about 7 kilometres from Anghiari. I would also love to do a day trip over the mountains to Urbino, the family home of the great Raphael.
I think this area must ooze great Renaissance art!
Anghiari is apparently located on the site of a Roman settlement and became prominent in the 11th century because of its strategic position on the trade routes linking central Italy with the Adriatic.
However, the most important period in its history is associated with the Battle of Anghiari which was fought in 1440 between the Visconti armies from Milan and those of Florence, which were allied with the Pope.
Leonardo da Vinci executed a huge and short-lived fresco of the battle at the request of the Magistrati of Florence, which wanted to decorate the walls of the main Chamber of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, with scenes celebrating the victories of the Florentine armies. At that same time, Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the Battle of Cascina.
(Leonardo's love of experimentation caused his fresco to be damaged during the drying process and the uncompleted painting decayed. Eventually it was replaced by a fresco by Vasari).
The house we are renting sounds wonderful. It’s owned by a friend of the friend I am traveling with, and she rarely rents it out. Generally, the owner and her extended family use it year-round. But since we’ve requested it so far in advance, she is giving it to my friend V. and I at a great rate.
I always travel alone, but I think V. and I will get along fine – the house is a good size, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, so we’ll each have our space. The house even has two terraces, and is built into the city walls of Anghiari, so the views will also be lovely.
After our week together, V. and I will go our separate ways. I’ll likely head down to Umbria for the next two weeks, to see my favourite spots and explore new ones.
I can’t wait!