A small village in southern Tuscany, Lucignano is one of the most extraordinary examples of medieval city planning, thanks to its elliptical shape and concentric road rings that have remained intact for centuries. Walking through its streets is like playing inside an intricate maze that is resolved only once you reach the upper part of the town.
The name Lucignano probably derives from Lucinianum, a term used to indicate the Roman castrum (camp), founded by the consul Licinius; but what made the town strategically important, when it was configured as a castle in medieval times, was its great geographical location, in a dominant position on the Val di Chiana along the road between Siena and Arezzo.
For about three centuries, from 1200 to 1500, Lucignano has undergone continuous changes of jurisdiction between Siena, Arezzo, Florence and Perugia, acquiring the current urban organization with the fortification, the churches and the stone and brick dwellings that, even today, are possible admire walking through the narrow alleys of the historic center.
Currently, the town maintains intact its charm of an ancient village, which has been able to pass on, from generation to generation, the old agricultural and artisan traditions of the territory, thanks to the experience of professionally trained workers. From the precious extra virgin olive oil to honey, from the works of the carving to the production of ceramics, from goldsmithing to the archaic working of pietra serena (commonly called "Firenzuola stone"). In addition to the numerous architectural and artistic beauties of the historic center, Lucignano offers a rural outline that man has been able to shape according to his needs and which you can enjoy by moving on foot, on horseback or by mountain bike.
The Maggiolata Lucignanese takes place on the last two Sundays of May, the event that has opened and marked the Lucignano spring since 1937. Musical bands and folkloristic groups from all over Italy accompany the parade of allegorical carriages completely covered with flowers, created by the four districts of the village, to win the "Grifo d’oro". The Capitano del Popolo, who precedes the historical parade with armed men, drummers and trumpets, solemnly declares that the celebrations may begin, while the procession is closed by the carriage symbol of the Municipality of Lucignano, pulled by oxen of the Chianina breed.
Memories from the Past is an historical re-enactment that re-proposes scenes of daily life from the late 1800s or early 1900s. In the streets of the town, many artisan shops reopen that revive the ancient crafts, while commoners, peasants and noblemen with traditional dresses recreate the colorful and noisy atmosphere of holidays. Jugglers, musicians and artists of various kinds enliven every corner of the ancient village, with stalls and taverns that inebriate passers-by with the aromas of past recipes.
Also known in ancient times as the Capon Fair, the Fiera del Ceppo is one of the fixed appointments of the Lucignano Christmas period. Linked to the historical memory of the town and the Val di Chiana, the Fair enlivens the streets of the town on the Sunday before Christmas day, giving life to a popular festival capable of anticipating the atmosphere of one of the most magical times of the year.
Set up on the ground floor of the town hall, the Municipal Museum of Lucignano houses paintings, goldsmiths, frescoes and sacred furnishings from the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries, with works signed by Lippo Vanni, Bartolo di Fredi and Luca Signorelli. The best known work, however, is the "Golden Tree" or "Tree of Life" a reliquary about 2 meters and 60 centimeters high made of silver, gilded copper and enamels and decorated with small reliquaries, medallions and miniatures. A unique and inimitable example of the Arezzo-Senese goldsmith's art by Ugolino da Vieri and Gabriello d'Antoni, the Tree is, to date, one of the most fascinating works in the area.
The presence of a venerated image of the Madonna, frescoed in 1471 by the painter Feliciano Batone near a large oak tree led to the construction of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Querce. The original wooden chapel, built to protect the sign, was replaced by a first small church in masonry, which then took on its current appearance between 1568 and 1617. In fact, it was transformed into a highly prestigious structure interventions by Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane, Baldassarre Peruzzi and, finally, by Giorgio Vasari who made it a small architectural jewel of the valley.
Built between 1248 and 1289, the Church of San Francesco is an important example of Franciscan Gothic architecture with an Egyptian cross-basilica plan and a single nave. Behind a high and bright façade, made of blocks of sandstone and travertine stone, the church still retains many frescoes attributed to Bartolo di Fredi and Taddeo di Bartolo, and a large fresco of particular charm, universally known as "The triumph of Death "..