Explore the places of interest

The history of our Territory

In the heart of the Tosco-Romagnolo Apennines

Capoluogo della

Natural Reserve of Alpe della Luna

The small town of Badia Tedalda stands in Tuscany, at the crossroads between the three Italian regions of Umbria, Emilia Romagna and Le Marche, along the ancient route of Via Romea, used for centuries by monks, wayfarers and pilgrims. Besides its historical and religious attractions, Badia Tedalda is also the center for the Natural Reserve of Alpe della Luna. This special area boasts stunning countryside with dense beechwoods, breathtaking scenery as well as waterways and rock pools. Gothic Line fortifications of World War II can also be found here.

Badia Tedalda Comune Visione Aerea

Historical background

Badia Tedalda’s historical roots are in the Roman era.It all began as a resting point along the Ariminensis road, an ancient trade route which used to link the two cities of Arezzo and Rimini. However, it was during the Early Middle Ages that the first inhabited centre began to really develop and to control the surrounding territory. Throughout this period, the Benedictine monastery of Saint Michael the Archangel was founded, whose monks were mainly occupied in the exploitation of the forests of Alpe della Luna and Viamaggio. From then on, the Monastery guided the fortunes of local people. 

From the second half of the thirteenth century, Abbot Tedalgrado took advantage of the weakness of Massa Trabaria and created a real territorial lordship throughout Valmarecchia, with Badia Tedalda as main centre. This represents a record that will last for over two centuries: unfortunately in the early fifteenth century the Abbey begins to lose these privileges, but when Pope Leo X offers it in commenda to the Hospital of S. Maria Novella in Florence, it returns to its former glory. Going in this direction, among other things, is the reconstruction of the abbey church, dating back to the 11th century. Beginning in the second half of the 13th century, Abbot Tedalgrado, taking advantage of the weakness of the Massa Trabaria, gave rise to a true territorial lordship throughout the Marecchia Valley, with Badia Tedalda as its center. This represents a record that will last for over two centuries: unfortunately in the early fifteenth century the Abbey begins to lose these privileges, but when Pope Leo X offers it in commenda to the Hospital of S. Maria Novella in Florence, it returns to its former glory. Later, during the 11th century, the Abbey Church was reconstructed.

Terracotte Invetriate Badia Tedalda Pala Altare Centrale Chiesa San Michele

The Robbiane

The spectacular glazed terracotta pieces of Badia Tedalda

The robbiane terracottas Showing strong Renaissance Florence influence, the Robbiana terracotta pieces are the tangible proof of the close political, cultural and commercial ties that linked Badia Tedalda with Florence, from the end of the fifteenth century and the first half of the sixteenth.The relationship was forged thanks toAbbot Leonardo Buonafedeto whom Papa Leo X, in 1512, entrusted the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo. Buonafede was a prominent figure in religious and cultural circles and added artistic value to every institution under his control, in fact he immediately started the restoration of the church of Badia Tedalda. He wanted it to be furnished with precious sacred artefacts, including the Robbiana altar pieces commissioned to Benedetto and Santi Buglioni, the latest trustees of Luca della Robbia’s design..

In Badia Tedalda

Inside the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel it is possible to admire five splendid glazed terracotta pieces by Benedetto and Santi Buglioni, pupils of Luca Della Robbia, strongly wanted by Abbot Leonardo Buonafede: three altarpieces, a sophisticated Ciborium depicting angels and cherubs and two detached frescoes high relief, portraying the Virgin of the Annunciation and the Archangel Gabriel.
The most important work is the central altarpiece: Madonna on the throne with child, surrounded by Saints Leonard, Michael the Archangel, Benedict and Jerom, commissioned by Leonardo Buonafede to Benedetto Buglioni in 1517. The emblems of Leonardo Buonafede are represented at the edge of the predella: a golden, rearing bull and above the shield, a bishop’s mitre. The altar piece is made in traditional Robbiana chrome pigments: the white glazing of all the figures and the blue and green of background scenery being typical, as well as the yellow of some finishes.
Above the altar on the right is The Annunciation and Saints Julian, Sebastian and Anthony the Abbot, while the altarpiece on the left, depicts the Madonna presenting the sacred girdle to Saint Thomas.

In Montebotolino

The Church of Saint Thomas in Montebotolino preserves another Robbian altarpiece representing the Incredulity of Saint Thomas: the scene depicts Jesus blessing the doubting Saint Thomas, who is touching the Messiah’s side with his hand. There are five panels in the predella; the three central ones, stolen in the past, were fortunately found by Mr. Franco Parreschi, and then, after restoration, put back in their place. Under the terracotta there are five other tiles. Although there is influence from Benedetto Buglioni in the work, a few years ago studies showed that the work was by Santi Buglioni, commissioned by Gnomio di Salvatore from Montebotolino.

In Fresciano

Finally, the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Fresciano holds the wonderful glazed terracotta depicting Jesus presenting the keys to Saint Peter. The work was commissioned in around 1530 by Gnomio di Salvatore of Montebotolino, the same individual who ordered the same altar padel of the Church of Saint Tommaso.

Transumanza Val Marecchia Montevecchio
Transumanza Badia Tedalda Viamaggio

The Transhumance

About recent local history, transhumance has been a crucial phenomenon for the local economy for centuries, deeply intertwined with livestock farming, the utilisation of forests, and subsistence agriculture. It involves the seasonal movement of shepherds and their flocks between the Apennines and the Maremma, shaping various aspects, including material items (tools, clothing, culinary recipes, and remedies for diseases), languages, mentalities, and traditions.

The ways of transhumance are one of the most evident signs of this centuries-old practice: from many parts of the Apennine chain started a series of paths, tracks, roads leading to the winter pastures of the Maremma.
Along these routes, transhumance has left traces of its history, made in the first place of roads, but also of many other elements: sources for the watering of animals, small rural churches (sometimes just simple chapels) markets, inns, farms equipped for stops. Traces are still evident in the remains and artefacts, but most of all in the cultural and artistic expressions of the traditions, of the typical productions, of the culinary recipes offered by the territories and the localities that cross these ancient streets.

The Biozzi Route

The Biozzi Route is the easternmost route of transhumance, descending from the Tuscan-Romagnolo Apennines to the Maremma. It’s named after the Biozzi family, the largest landowners and livestock breeders in the Upper Val Marecchia. Originally from Bagno di Romagna, they had land, herds, and flocks throughout the area, particularly in the Badia Tedalda area where their largest estate was located in Viamaggio. Thousands of sheeps, as well as cattle and horses, would start their journey from the Viamaggio farm in September, reaching Maremma in ten days.

The itinerary that follows this ancient route now spans approximately 230 km, passing through a series of roads and locations in the provinces of Arezzo, Siena, and Grosseto.
Visit the dedicated website

Step into the heart of the territory

A journey to discover the quiet village life in the hamlets of Badia Tedalda