The little village of Lucignano rises on a very green hill, about 28 km from Arezzo; because of its elliptical plan with concentric rings, it is considered one of the most extraordinary examples of medieval town planning in Tuscany. Like all the other cities and villages of the Chiana Valley, Lucignano also was inhabited since the Villanovan and Etruscan Age; in the 1st century BC it was conquered by Lucius Cornelius Sulla's troops and a Roman contingent, under the command of consul Lucius Licinius Lucullus, settled on the hill where still today we can admire the village: the new castrum was named Lucinianum, in honour of the supreme magistrate of course. In the Middle Ages, Lucignano was long disputed between Arezzo, Siena, Florence and Perugia, obviously because of its strategic position dominating the Chiana Valley; between 1200 and 1500 the village suffered the domination of different rulers, until Florence succeeded in conquering the city of Siena and also in Lucignano a Medicean Fortress was erected. Under the rule of the House of Medici, the great urban interventions were begun, besides the Fortress were also built the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Querce (attributed to the Vasari), the Convent of the Capucines (around 1580), the Church of the Misericordia (1582) and the amazing Latin cross-shaped Collegiate Church of San Michele Arcangelo.
From a purely architectural point of view, Lucignano is very peculiar: the buildings along the via povera (Via Roma) are very much different from those along the via ricca (Via Matteotti); walking down the first street indeed you will have the chance to admire some little medieval buildings, taking the second one instead you will see the charming Renaissance residential palaces of the noble families of the village. The city walls were erected by the Sienesi in 1371, even if this layout partially follows a 13th – 14th century urban structure; the three city gates are still: Porta S. Giovanni (known also as porta di sotto), Porta S. Giusto (or porta di sopra) and Porta Murata (named this way because it was probably walled up around 1500). Palazzo Pretorio (the seat of local government and the City Museum) rises close to the Monumental Complex of San Francesco, in the geometric centre of Lucignano, the building main facade overlooks the enchanting Piazza del Tribunale, recently immortalized by Abbas Kiarostami in his movie called “Certified copy”, with Juliette Binoche and William Shimell.
Being such a small village (only 3613 inhabitants), it's hard to believe that there are so many attractions to see, moreover Lucignano has maintained intact the charm of an ancient village, deeply attached to its long agricultural and craftsman tradition. Lucignano is the perfect place for unforgettable outings and excursions, an unavoidable destination for those who want to expand their knowledge of the immediate surroundings of Arezzo, Siena and Florence; moreover, in Spring the village hosts many events and festivals, such as the Feast of Flowers (first Sunday of May of every year) and the even more popular Maggiolata Lucignanese (the last two Sundays of May of every year) with the traditional parade of flowered chariots and music bands along the streets of the old town.