Walk the street of this beautifully preserved Medieval little town, with its concentric plan, and find the Tree of Love, a Gothic masterpiece of the goldsmith’s art that brings good luck to couples, and some beautiful, though less romantic frescoes.
This is a beautifully preserved Medieval town that lies in the Val di Chiana, between Siena and Arezzo in Tuscany. Its walls and Rocca are the handiwork of the Sienese in the 15th century, though the town eventually fell prey to Florence in the 16th century.
Aside from some sublime frescoes, Lucignano is famous for two things. The first is its town planning. The streets run in perfect concentric rings, with the religious and political buildings sitting on the high ground right at the heart of the city. The wealthier of the areas lies lay along the ample Via Matteotti, which conveniently faces south, whereas the “poor” area is the narrower Via Roma.This narrow road with the houses facing north is obviously colder and less comfortable in winter and was therefore occupied by the poorer people in ancient time.
The other drawcard is a curious sight that lies right at the centre. The Tree of Life. A reliquarium in the shape of a tree that supposedly brings luck and eternal love to couples who visit here from all over the world. This object makes Lucignano one of the best romantic spots in Tuscany.
What to see in Lucignano:
Palazzo Comunale Museum (piazza del Tribunale) – This building currently houses the Tree of Love. A masterpiece of Gothic jewellery in the shape of a tree. It’s decorated with coral, enamel and rock crystal.
The frescoes in the room are the perfect frame for this masterpiece, though less romantic by far. They show illustrious men and symbols of virtue that they hoped would be heeded by politicians and leaders.
Amongst the other works, the most important is “San Francesco Receiving the Stigmata” by Signorelli.
Church of San Francesco – next to the Palazzo Comunale stands this elegant and simple Gothic church (with a sandstone and travertine facade) with XIV frescoes – “Il trionfo della morte” stands out, a subject infamous and common in the second half of 1300 because of the terror brought by the plague.
Collegiata Church – perfectly inserted in the Medieval context in the XVI century, during Medici dominion, its elliptical travertine staircase mimics the shape of the town.
What to do: Maggiolata Festival, Lucignano in bloom
If you are here in May, you’ll see the Maggiolata, a festival that commemorates the arrival of Summer with a profusion of eccentric, if kitsch, flower displays – that are paraded about the town accompanied by music. It welcomes the summer and is hope for a fruitful crops.
How to get there:
10 km. from the Exit Monte San Savino on the A1
Did you know?
Every year since 2005, after an encounter with the japanese stylist Yumi Katsura, Lucignano houses the “Festival of Marriage” (Festa degli sposi ), at the beginning of september.
The movie “Certified copy” by Iranian director Kiarostami was shot here and the story takes its inspiration from the Tree of Love.