The valley between Florence and Arezzo is called Val d'Arno (i.e. Arno Valley); since the Roman times it has been in a strategic position, near the consular road Cassia, which connected Rome to Florence, and today it still keeps this peculiarity, being crossed by important roads like the motorway A1 and by the railway Rome–Florence.
This territory has been constantly excavated by some members of the archaeological society of Figline Valdarno, who have found important Etruscan finds. An important Etruscan site has been found south of Figline, perhaps an underground river town dating back to the 6th century BC.
Another important archaeological site in this area is Incisa Val d’Arno, with several important finds: at least two tombs have been found here (the first on a hill overlooking the town, the second one in the country near Palazzolo), although researches are still in progress.
Several manor houses in the area belong to rich Florentine families, and near Rignano sull’Arno we can find some beautiful examples of this architecture, like the 16th century villa by Poggio Francoli and the villa by Torre a Cona, one of the most magnificent Tuscan houses of 18th century.
A different beauty can be found inside the small parish churches along the valley, holy places where the typical medieval spirit still survives. Among these churches we can mention the Abbey Vallombrosa, lying just in the middle of the homonymous wood, since 1973 a nature reserve. The abbey dates back to the 11th century, and it’s the mother house of the monks “Vallombrosiani”, a congregation founded by St. Giovanni Gualberto in 1015, following the Benedictine rules (Ora et Labora). At the moment the Arno valley is characterized by different Outlet Stores of important fashion firms. In Incisa we can find Dolce&Gabbana, while in Reggello we can go shopping inside The Mall, a modern shopping centre with Outlets belonging to Armani, Gucci, Ferragamo, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, La Perla and many others.
The increasing interest in this new form of shopping has attracted visitors from all over the country: people do not just go shopping, but they also visit places and towns, combining duty with pleasure, mixing shopping with a pleasant weekend in Tuscany.