Arno River

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The Arno is a river in the Tuscany region of Italy. It is the most important river of central Italy after the Tiber.


Source and route

The river originates on Mount Falterona in the Casentino area of the Apennines, and takes initially a southward curve. The river turns to the west near Arezzo passing through Florence, Empoli and Pisa, flowing into the Tyrrhenian Sea at Marina di Pisa. With a length of 241 kilometers, it is the largest river in the region. It has many tributaries and these are them: Sieve (60 kilometers), Bisenzio (49 kilometers), Ombrone, Era, Elsa, Pesa and Pescia. The drainage basin amounts to more than 8,200 km² and drains the waters of the following sub-basins:

  • The Casentino, in the province of Arezzo, formed by the upper course of the river until the confluence with the Maestro della Chiana channel.
  • The Val di Chiana, a plain dried in the 18th century, which, until the 18th century, was a marshy area tributary of the Tiber.
  • The upper Valdarno, a long valley bordered from East by the Pratomagno massif and from West by the hills around Siena.
  • The Sieve's basin, which flows in the Arno immediately before Florence.
  • The middle Valdarno, with the plain including Florence, Sesto Fiorentino, Prato and Pistoia.
  • The lower Valdarno, with the valley of important tributaries such as the Pesa, Elsa and Era and in which, after Pontedera, the Arno flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea. The river has a very variable discharge, ranging from minimum values such as 6 m³/s to more than 2,000. The mouth of the river was once near Pisa, but is now several kilometres westwards.

It crosses Florence, where it passes below the Ponte Vecchio and the Santa Trìnita bridge (built by Bartolomeo Ammanati, but inspired by Michelangelo). The river flooded this city regularly in historical times, the last occasion being the famous flood of 1966, with 4,500 m³/s after a rain of 437.2 mm in Badia Agnano and 190 millimetres in Florence, in only 24 hours.

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