BIBBIENA, with its 10,000 inhabitants, is the largest and most dynamic town in the valley of Casentino. At a distance of 60 KM from Florence, 30 KM from Arezzo, 60 KM from Siena and 20 KM from the Sanctuary of La Verna, the historic centre has many shops, churches and palaces...and boasts of an illustrious past rich in history.
Mentioned by Dante and Ariosto, BIBBIENA enters the third millennium with a little known artistic and cultural heritage. Bibbiena offers its visitors a wealth of exceptionally interesting works spanning the centuries from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, from the 18th century to the present day. Suffice it to mention the curches of Sant Ippolito and San Lorenzo, the oratory of San Francesco, the sancutary of Santa Maria del Sasso, the small church of San Matteo in Terrossola. You can also admire historical palaces such as the famous Palazzo Dovizi, the splendid Teatro Dovizi which has been recently restored.
Because of its charming site, various noble families from and the Casentino built palaces here. The 16th century Palazzo Dovizi has an original architectural structure due to the loggia above the building. There is a newly restored theater in Bibbiena which exemplifies the luxury that was found in this small town not so many years ago. The theaters seats approx. 150 persons and boasts of an active season starting in mid October to May. During the summer months the town of Bibbena goes to Piazza Grande and holds activities like music and dancing at the outside theater.
The Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Sasso, a pure example of Renaissance art, lies at a distance of 1km from the centre of Bibbiena. In the upper church, upon the summit of an enormous rock, the Sasso, rises a graceful central tabernacle, which contains the "Madonna del Sasso", painted by Bicci di Lorenzo. From the rock the sancturay takes its name, owing its existence to a singular tradition connected with the cult of Mary. Such a tradition met with so much credit as to induce the architect to leave the base of the rock exposed to view by creating a lower curch where the "Madonna del Buio", a wooden sculpture, by the school of Donatello, was placed.
A third church contains a precious canvas by Lappoli. The upper church contains a glazed terracotta and works by Fra Paolino del Signoraccio, of Ligozzi and Ludovico Buti. In the choir, the great paintin on the wood representing the Assunta is a work by Fra Paolino and Fra Bartolomeo. The monastery has in its interior a large 16th centruy cloister. Not far away from Bibbiena you can follow signs to the Sanctuary of St. Francesco located up a very steep but panarmoic hillside. The santuary is open to the public and offers lots of area for prayer, meditation, hiking, picnicing and even a unique gift shop with special age old recipes. Bring a light jacket because even in the midst of the summer heat, La Verna can be a little chilly.
OUR VILLAS CLOSE TO BIBBIENA: CASA CARDINALE MONTINI VILLA CYPRESSO QUERCIOLA SARNA CHIESA FALCONE GINESTRINO
LA VILLA LUPINO BELLEVUE CARDINE VIGNACCE SAN DOMENICO MONTE ROSA MAZINO MULINO VECCHIO EGIDIO