Piero della Francesca Trail
Piero della Francesca was an Early Renaissance painter from Sansepolcro (1415 - 1492). The Piero della Francesca Trail starts with his best known work, The Legend of the True Cross fresco cycle in Arezzo, and goes on to smaller frescoes in Monterchi (The Pregnant Madonna) and Sansepulcro (The Resurrection), ending with a painting in Urbino (The Flagellation). The novel "Summer's Lease" by John Mortimer (1988), where the main character follows the Piero della Francesca Trail, brought the trail to the attention of Italy lovers. Frances Mayes also writes about it in Bella Tuscany. The trail lets you see his artwork in the places where they were painted, and where he lived. You also get to explore an interesting corner of north-east Tuscany, and Le Marche.
Location: Italy - Tuscany - Arezzo - Arezzo
Tags: Fresco, Painting
These are the stops on the Piero della Francesca Trail:
The Legend of the True Cross fresco series in the Bacci Chapel of the Basilica di San Francesco in the town center. This fresco was hidden from view during much of the 1990s for restoration. The chapel was decorated by Piero della Francesca between 1453 and 1466 for the wealthy Bacci family.
Location: Bacci Chapel in the Basilica di San Francesco, Piazza San Francesco (Via Guido Monaco, 11, 52100)
Hours: Monday - Friday: 9am - 7pm summer, 6pm winter / Saturday: 9am - 6pm summer, 5:30pm winter / Sunday: 1pm - 5:30pm afternoons only
Booking: Call to book ticket. Small groups are taken every 30 minutes.
Parking: Arezzo is a larger town and has big parking lots at the edge of the historical center.
The Pregnant Madonna fresco (Madonna del Parto). Originally in the town church, it was moved and restored and is displayed in a building on the edge of town.
Location: Museo Madonna del Parto, Via della Reglia 1, on the SS221, west of Monterchi
Hours: Daily 9am - 1pm, 2pm - 7pm (November - March, closed Monday)
The Resurrection fresco in the museum in the town center (Museo Civico). In 1925 Aldous Huxley called it "the greatest picture in the world." Piero della Francesca was from Sansepolcro.
Location: Museo Civico in the town center
Hours: Daily summer 10am - 1:30pm, 2.30pm - 7pm / winter 10am - 1pm / 2.30pm - 6pm
Urbino (Le Marche)
The Flagellation, a painting in the museum in the Ducal Palace (Palazzo Ducale).
Location: National Gallery of Marche (Galleria Nazionale delle Marche) in the Ducal Palace (Palazzo Ducale)
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 8:30am - 7:15pm (ticket office closes 6pm) / Monday 8:30am - 2pm (ticket office closes 12:30pm)
Parking: Park outside the town walls and take the elevator to the town center (or walk up a very steep road).
Website: Piero della Francesca Trail
Day trip contributed by Pauline Kenny
Piero della Francesca was a mathematician and he brings that to his art with his use of geometric forms and perspective. Much of his work is lost or has been moved to larger museums. His double portrait of Federico and his wife Battista Sforza, painted in Urbino, is now in the Uffizi in Florence.
We did this trail in the late 1990s and I don't have any photos. In 2015 on a trip to Le Marche we re-visited the painting in Urbino and I have added two photos of it.