Here I am to tell you about Arezzo, the city where I was born and raised. [NOTE: This article has been translated from Italian to English]
Where are we?
We are in Tuscany, between Florence and Siena. The city stands on a hill overlooking four valleys: Valtiberina, Casentino, Valdarno and Valdichiana. Arezzo has very ancient origins—it is even older than Alexandria in Egypt! It was one of the major Etruscan lucumonie (cities)—we are talking about 3000 years ago—and later, it became a Roman center of strategic importance. It flourished from economic activities and was rich in monuments, including the amphitheater, whose considerable remains can still be admired today.
Are you looking for something different? An authentic and lesser known part of Tuscany? This is the right city for you. Arezzo is off the beaten path of mass tourism, which allows you to experience it like a native. Stop to eat or drink a good glass of wine in genuine places and breathe in the authenticity of the Tuscan atmosphere. Arezzo is the perfect place to plan your marriage proposal or the wedding itself.
What you can see in Arezzo?
The city of Arezzo offers a vast historical and artistic heritage in a concentrated area. Its historic center features splendid monuments, churches, palaces, and museums.
Once we arrive in the heart of the city, we find the Cathedral of San Donato, which dominates the hill. Inside, the stained glass windows by Guillame de Marcillat and the Saint Mary Magdalene painting by Piero della Francesca stand out for their beauty. Next to the cathedral is the Prato, the oldest park in the city and a green expanse that offers a breathtaking view of Arezzo.
Continuing through the streets of the center, you arrive in the main square, Piazza Grande, which represents the life and heart of the city. Medieval tower-houses, the apse of the parish church, and Renaissance palaces meet and give life to this enchanting city. The film Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni (Oscar winner in 1999) was filmed in this square, and in other points of the historic center. If you haven’t seen it yet, now is the perfect time!
In the Piazza Grande you can witness a medieval historical re-enactment. The Giostra del Saracino is chivalrous jousting game which simulates the war battle between an armed knight and Buratto, the King of the Indies. Not only that, since 1968, the square and the alleys of the historic center have hosted the Antiques Fair (the oldest in Italy) every first Sunday of the month and the previous Saturday. Hundreds of exhibitors offer art objects, antique furniture, jewels, watches, lace, books, photos, and antique prints—it’s a treasure hunt and a real journey into the past!
From here, continuing towards Piazza San Francesco, you arrive at the Basilica of San Francesco. The inside of the Bacci Chapel is decorated with frescoes of the Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca—a true Renaissance masterpiece. The chapel also appears in a scene from the 1996 film The English Patient.
Before arriving in this square, stop at a fantastic fashion store, to see the 1st century Roman mosaics. You will get to experience the charm of walking in ancient Rome!
Obviously, we are in Italy… and even in Arezzo, good food and wine are at no shortage. I will tell you about them later.
These are just a few nuggets of what Arezzo has to offer, as I can’t tell you everything at once.
Come to see me in Arezzo, I’m waiting for you!