The Italian village of Stia is situated at the foot of Mount Falterona, at the confluence of the Arno river (near its source) with the Staggia torrent - in the Casentino district to the east of Tuscany.
Start a visit in the center of the village in Piazza Tanucci. This square is irregularly shaped and surrounded by arcades, which characterize the urban layout of the small town.
The square is named after Bernardo Tanucci, born in Stia in 1698 and minister of justice and chief royal adviser of Naples.
Of historic and artistic interest here are a stone fountain with metal ornaments and fresco by Pietro Annigoni (1910-1988), representing St. Francis.
Also in Piazza Tanucci is the parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta, in Romanesque style (although with a much more recent facade) and dating from the 12th century. Inside the church are some pictures of remarkable artistic value, such as the triptych of the Annunciation by Lorenzo Bicci*.
Also noteworthy is a Madonna and Child, attributed to the school of Cimabue, a white glazed terracotta by Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525), and a ciborium in polychrome glazed, presumably from the workshop of the Della Robbia.
Near Stia there is the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie, dating from the 15th century, with some terracotta works also by Andrea della Robbia.
Near the church there is the cloister of the monastery. In the village below the castle of Porciano there's the old parish church of San Lorenzo, rebuilt in the 17th century.
Also interesting is the Parish Church of Stia, with a glazed terracotta depicting a Madonna and Child with St. Roch and St. Sebastian, by Santi Buglioni* and dating from the 16th century.
Inside the "Florentine palace", residence of the Guidi Earls from Palagio, there is a collection of Contemporary Art, which includes paintings and sculptures by contemporary Tuscan artists, such as Pietro Annigoni, Remo Brindisi (1918-1996), Mino Maccari (1898-1989), Ottone Rosai (1895-1957), and Bruno Saetti (1902-1984).
Lake of the Idols
Located south of Mount Falterona, the Lake of the Idols is the most interesting archaeological site of the Casentino, where very important artefacts from the cult of the Etruscans have been found. These included many votive offerings, hence the site being called the "Lake of the Idols".
Hundreds of bronzes were also recovered, some of which are now preserved in the British Museum in London and the Louvre in Paris. Considerable interest was aroused by the discovery of 10 stone and gold artefacts depicting a bull protome and some bead necklaces made of glass.
The bronze artifacts depict eyes, hearts, legs, feet, arms and hands and the statues date from the period between the sixth and fourth centuries BC.
Tradition and cuisine in Stia
Finally we remember that Stia, from the twelfth century onwards, was an important center for the manufacture of wrought iron. This tradition is maintained today with the installation of a famous international Biennal.
We should also emphasize that from the 19th century Stia was also an important center for wool processing. A visit to the Biennal can also be an excellent opportunity to enjoy the local products, such as the so-called "Tortello", a traditional dish of potatoes made in the region.
See also Stia history and etymology.