The most important period in the history of the town is connected with the Battle of Anghiari which was fought in the year 1440 between the Visconti armies from Milan and those of Florence which were allied with the Pope. Machiavelli spoke about the battle in his Historiae fiorentinae and Leonardo da Vinci did a huge (short lived) fresco painting of it in Florence. The position on a dominant hillside in the middle of a vast plain made Anghiari an important strategic point. The angular shape of the old castle (castrum angulare) is probably at the origin of the town's name, although according to another interpretation it derives from the mass of ghiaia, or gravel, accumulated by the Tiber River over the millennia, upon which the historic center is built.
You will find a great little outside bar where you can sit have a drink while admiring a one of a kind landscape. The classic dish of Anghiari is bringoli: thick spaghetti handmade from just water and flour by the village housewives, covered with a sauce made from porcini mushrooms gathered in the woods of the Tiber Valley, or else with a chianina meat sauce. Right across from the bar, In the heart of the old town, you can see signs of its past history, arched windows, a large fresco and a multitude of coats of arms in both stone and terracotta. The ground floor of the building was once the old prison and on the left hand wall of the entrance hallway there is a fresco showing the figure of Justice which was painted in about 1460 and is attributed to Antonio di Anghiari.
The old watch route was the road found at the northern section of the city walls. Since 1444 this stretch of the circuit of walls has undergone a number of reconstruction works in order to make the village impenetrable in the event of an artillery attack.
Together with the ancient Cassero, the bell or clock tower is one of the tallest points on the Anghiari skyline. The tower was built in the thirteenth century being completed in 1323 and then destroyed by Vitellozzi Vitelli on the 24th June 1502. A century later the tower was rebuilt and the clock was added. It was restored again to its present form during the first half of the eighteenth century.
MAY 2005: LA SCAMPANATA (MORNING BELL): This is an event that occurs once every five years and lasts for the whole month of May. The members of the "Società della Scampanata" (virtually the entire town) make a date to be in the main square at 6 o'clock every morning. Anyone who is late is dragged out of bed, given a more or less "fair" trial and then hoisted up onto a special carriage and pulled around the town while everyone else throws everything they can think of at him until he is completely covered and entirely unrecognisable. The origins of the Scampanata seem to go back to a pagan cult of the goddess Angiria.
JULY/AUGUST: MUSIC, THEATRE AND SPECIAL EVENTS AROUND THE OLD WALLS : Special shows and events that enliven the centre of Anghiari all summer. A mixture of concerts, guided tours, dinners and shows scattered through the natural backdrop of the little squares and corners that are the real centre of gravity for the events in the programme.
FROM 10 TO 18 AUGUST: "TOVAGLIA A QUADRI" (THE CHECKED TABLECLOTH) - 1TH Year : A traditional Tuscan open-air dinner entwined together with a musical play performed across four courses. This entertainment has achieved a prominent position amongst the best of all the events of the summer in Tuscany. It takes place in the natural "stage" of the little piazzetta del "Poggiolino" in the heart of the old town centre and is created by the Pro Loco and the Teatro Stabile di Anghiari. The performers are the local people who tell a story which is a delightful mixture of authentic memories, local myths, events that really happened and pure comic fantasy.
HAVE A LOOK IN OUR VILLAS WITHIN SHORT DISTANCE FROM ANGHIARI: