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The local area

The Niccone valley floor is farmland for mainly maize, sunflowers, grains and, decreasingly, for tobacco. On south facing slopes are grapes and olive terraces. There are some new walnut fields. There are occasional flocks of sheep, goats, cattle and even alpacas and most of these are associated with schemes to bring life back to the countryside Higher up, at the level of Vasciano, the farmland has often been abandoned adding to a sense of secrecy. Above this are oak woods, grown and sensitively managed for firewood, interspersed with sweet chestnuts. The latter are grown for their fruit and are also the traditional timber for building. At the west end of the valley, in Mercatale the road divides and twists up over hills and down to Lake Trasimeno to the south and Cortona to the west. The east end of the valley joins the Tiber valley at Niccone and goes south to Umbertide and north to Citta di Castello.

Mercatale and the Niccone Valley  
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