Just outside the ancient walls of the little town of Sansepelcro in Italy is a street named after an Englishman, Captain Anthony Clarke, the man credited with saving Piero della Francesca’s famous painting The Resurrection, during the Second World War. Ordered to begin an assault on the town, Captain Clarke stalled for time. Although he had never seen the painting he remembered its description in a book by Aldous Huxley that he had read many years earlier, a book in which Huxley had described the work as “the greatest painting in the world”. His stalling for time enabled the masterpiece to be saved, an action for which the townspeople were and are eternally grateful..
An Italian Art Trail: Piero della Franscesca
A unique chance for visitors to the regions of Tuscany, Umbria, Emilio-Romagna and Marche to follow the trail of the masterpieces of 15th century painter, Piero della Franscescaa.
Beautiful Italian Countryside
Sansepelcro and Piero della Francesca
Sansepelcro is now to feature in a new art route, the “Terre Di Piero”, which is being introduced by the Emilia-Romagna and the Tuscany Tourist Boards for visitors to the areas of Tuscany, Umbria, Emilia-Romagna and Marche, a route that will showcase the four regions that are home to Piero's greatest works and will pass through the landscapes that inspired the painter. Sansepelcro was the painter’s birthplace, his remains lie in the Chapel of San Leonardo, and the town is home to the Piero della Francesca Foundation.
A Village Scene
The Routes of the Terre di Piero
There are a range of routes for those who want to follow the Terre di Piero, starting in Rimini and the Montefeltro area: these take in Urbino in Marche, Sansepelcro, Monterchi and Arezzo in Tuscany, and Perugia in Umbria. The Montefeltro area stretches from the Province of Rimini to the borders of Pesaro and Tuscany and here one can still see the landscapes that form the backround in some of della Francesca’s famous paintings, backgrounds that are virtually unchanged since his day. Seven panoramas depicted in the works have been identified and as an aid to an appreciation of these works and in a stroke of sheer genius, the locations have been fitted out with special balconies containing pictures of the paintings for comparison with the reality in front of the viewer.
As one follows the delineated art trail through some of Italy’s lovliest towns, the eye is ravished by glorious scenery, dazzled by castles, fortresses, monuments, historical sites and buildings constructed by traditional craftsmen. And as the soul is fulfilled by the surrounding beauty, so the corporeal is satisfied with the food,specialties of the area, like Tuscan bean soup and the Casciotta di Urbino cheese which, paired with the delightful Chianti and Sangiovese wines of the region, make for a very satisfying meal.
Main Paintings Showcased along the way
The paintings showcased along the way are, in Rimini, Piero’s masterpiece in the Malatesta Temple, Praying Before Saint Sigismund; in the Marche National Gallery The Madonna of Senigallia and The Flagellation of Christ; and in Sansepelcro Municipal Museum the four great works The Resurrection, The Polyptych of the Misericordia, Saint Julian and Saint Louis are found. In Monterchi art lovers can gaze on the Madonna del Parto in the museumm of the same name; in Arezzo the Legend of the True Cross is on display in the Basilico of San Franscisco and his Mary Magdalene is in the Cathedral; and The Polyptych of Saint Anthony is in the Umbria National Gallery in Perugia.
The Madonna del Parto in Monterchi has gained a considerable following over the years and is considered Piero's paean to motherhood. Expectant mothers can enter the Madonna del Parto Museum free of charge which perhaps has led to the custom of letters and messages being left under the picture from petitioners to the Virgin Madonna.
2015 Exhibition in Reggio Emilia
From March to June 2015, Reggio Emilia will host an exhibition entitled Piero della Francesca: art and science in drawing in the Palazzo Magnani which will be one of the year’s most important exhibitions in Italy. This will gather together around 100 works from Italian and international museums and private collections including the Portrait of Piero della Francesca by Santi di Tito and Saint Louis by della Francesca from Sansepelcro.
To find out more, visit www.terredipiero.it , an excellent website to help visitors to the region get the most out of their visit. It offers not only videos about the paintings one can see along the way but information about the culture, the folklore, the food and wine and accommodation throughout the region.