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The Tiber Valley in Tuscany - the Land of Artists and Geniuses

The Upper Tiber Valley is the most eastern limb of Tuscany and is named after the Tiber River which flows through all of it as far as Umbria. The Valtiberina, as it is locally known was both the border and the meeting point of different civilizations; Umbrians, Etruscans , Byzantians and Longobards.

Today the municipal towns in Tuscany that make up the Tiber Valley are:

Michelangleo was born in these mountains at Caprese Michelangelo perceived life in the valley of the stone; Pierro della Francesca, in his native Sansepolcro perceived the secret of space and light and painted them.

The Central Appenines, the spine of mountains in this area in western Tuscany have caused the relative isolation of the valley where Sansepolcro seems to be a town of its own identity and autonomy. Perfectly preserved walled towns like
Anghiari , or riverside villages like Pieve Santo Stefano, Camaldolese abbeys and Franciscan monasteries, and medieval castles tell the story of this enchanting area.

Stone villages, hill top towns, cypresses and undulating valleys covered with olive groves, vineyards and sunflowers.

Both Anghiari and Sansepolcro should be visited in this area. Anghiari is an enchanting Medieval town with stone houses and crooked alleyways that wind around the hill, and a belvedere overlooks the valley. Here you can visit local craftsmen inlcuding those involved in textiles, basket weaving, and the antique olive oil pres that still presses the olives using a stone press. 

An Authentic Tuscan Recipe from the Tiber Valley

Bringoli al Sugo Finto

Traditionally, this would be served using hand rolled spaghetti. The original ingredients would have used 1 kilogram flour, a pinch of salt and a cup of water. The dough is ready when it seems smooth and reasonably solid after mixing and kneading.

One makes the spaghetti by breaking of small pieces of dough, and using one's hands, roll it until it resembles a large length of spaghetti. Place each piece of rolled spaghetti on a floured board and then cook in salted, boiling water as you would normal pasta.

Bringoli are traditionally served with "fake sauce". Fake because it is prepared like a meat sauce but contains no meat.


1/2 onion
1 carrot
1 piece celery
1 handful small vine tomatoes

Method: Chop the onion, carrot and celery finely and fry in a good quantity of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of chili flakes, and a basil leaf. Place the tomatoes in boiling water to remove the skins. Blanch and remove quickly and place in iced water. Remove the skins. Crush the flesh, add to the onion mixture and cook for a few minutes. Serve with the pasta.

Those municapl towns in Umbria that make up the Tiber Valley are:

  • Citerna
  • Citta di Castello
  • Lisciano Niccone
  • Monte Santa Maria Tiberina
  • Montone
  • Pietralunga
  • San Giustino
  • Umbertide
porciniThe Upper Tiber Valley is the northernmost Umbrian territory.  This untamed region has a unique cultural and social character. People here have been hunters and gatherers for centuries.

During the season they forage for wild mushrooms, the search ending with satisfaction if it ends with a wicker basket brimming with porcini. Then there is the truffle season where tartufo bianco e nero  the white and black truffles are hunted in secrecy least someone finds their stash of these coverted fungi. Men hunt in groups, dressed in camouflaged outfits and their dogs for cinghiale  which is the wild boar, piccione -  pigeon and coniglio  - rabbit, both of which find their way onto restaurant menus and family tables.

The Tiber River runs through the entire length of the valley for 50 kilometers and provides the area with great fertility. Still largely farmed with tobacco, each year sees more fields turned over to produce and feed for livestock.

Recommended Restaurants in the Tiber Valley

See our page on Tuscany food recommending restaurants in the Tiber Valley. These restaurants have been sanctioned by the Vetrina Toscana body as serving traditional food using traditional ingredients of high quality.

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