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Civitella in Val di Chiana
Comune di Civitella in Val di Chiana
Coat of arms of Civitella in Val di Chiana
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 43°25′N 11°43′E / 43.417°N 11.717°E / 43.417; 11.717
 • Total 100.37 km2 (39 sq mi)
Elevation 280 m (920 ft)
Population (30 July 2009)
 • Total 9,127
Demonym(s) Civitellini
Area code(s) 0575
Website Official website

Civitella in Val di Chiana (official name), often also Civitella di Val di Chiana, is a comune in the province of Arezzo, south of Arezzo in Tuscany, Italy. It is one of the best-preserved of the network of Lombard fortresses of the 6th and the 7th century in central Italy, strategically placed to control the whole territory. The characteristic elliptical shape of the military settlements can still be seen in the layout of the town walls.

The village of Civitella di Val di Chiana from the castle.


Already inhabited in Roman times, it was occupied and fortified by the Lombards in the 6th century. In the 11th century it became a possessment of the Bishops of Arezzo, and renamed "Civitella del Vescovo" ("Little Bishop's City"). In the 13th century the city was destroyed after the battle of Pieve al Toppo, cited by Dante Alighieri and fought nearby between Arezzo and Siena. After the Aretine defeat at Campaldino (1289) the city was annexed by Florence. In 1311 Arezzo regained it, holding until 1348, whenceforth it remained the seat of a Florentine podestà. Civitella enjoys one of the most beautiful /breathtaking views of the Arezzo valley.

On 1944-06-29, 244 citizens[citation needed] of Civitella were massacred by Hermann Göring Division, in retaliation for the killing of two German soldiers by the hands of partisans. In 1963 the city received the Gold Medal for Civilian Valour. A book by Enzo Gradassi about Elga Elmqvist (the Swede) and Giovanni Cau recoups the historic events that led to the massacre. A trailer for the book can be found here:

The city council has also opened a room of memories. On 10 October 2006, SS Max Josef Milde was convicted by the Italian military court of La Spezia for his role in the Civitella massacre. The Italian Court of Cassation in October 2008 ruled that Germany was to pay one million dollars to 203 victims of the massacre.[1] However, the International Court of Justice later ruled that Italy was required to void the judgment out of respect for Germany's state immunity

Main sights[]

  • The Castle, erected in 1048 and surrounded by a massive line of walls. It was used as headquarters by the German army during World War II, and was destroyed by an Allied bombing in 1944. It has never been rebuilt.
  • Palazzo Pretorio (14th century)
  • The church of Santa Maria Assunta(11th century), finished in Romanesque style in 1252. It was restored in 1765 and enlarged in 1875. In 1934 two small side naves were added which were rebuilt after the destruction caused by the air raid in 1944.[2]

Twin towns — Sister cities[]

Civitella in Val di Chiana is twinned with:

  • Germany Kämpfelbach, Germany
  • Western Sahara Ain Beda, Western Sahara


  1. El Supremo italiano condena a Alemania a indemnizar con un millón de euros a víctimas del nazismo, La Vanguardia, 21 October 2008 (Spanish)
  2. From plaque in church. Ufficio di Informazioni Turistiche c/o Biblioteca Communal

External links[]

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