What to See in Arezzo: A Magnificent City in Tuscany

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Arezzo is a city located in south-eastern Tuscany. Of ancient origins, it’s the birthplace of many famous people, including Giorgio Vasari, Piero della Francesca, Guido Monaco, Francesco Redi, and Petrarca. Let’s find out what to see in Arezzo!

Although part of the medieval city was destroyed during the Second World War, the center of Arezzo still preserves splendid monuments, churches, palaces, and museums.

Piazza Grande (or Piazza Vasari)

This square is the heart of the city. This irregularly shaped piazza has always served an important purpose throughout Arezzo’s history. It was used as a market square in Medieval times, then became the center of everyday life in the Renaissance, and then underwent new changes in the 16th century. It was during this time that the splendid Palazzo delle Logge, designed by Giorgio Vasari, was built overlooking Piazza Grande.

In front of the Vasari Palace, we find many other buildings dating back to different ancient eras such as the Torre Faggiolana, the Palazzo Cofani-Brizzolari, and the house of the Lappoli.

Another noteworthy Gothic building is the Confraternita dei Laici (Brotherhood of the Laity) which today houses the Public Prosecutor’s Office and is the seat of the Court.

If you visit Arezzo during the Christmas season, don’t miss the Christmas markets in Piazza Grande, the biggest Christmas event in central Italy. It’s a perfect mix of events to fully experience the magic of Christmas.

Saint Francis Basilica

The Basilica of San Francesco is perhaps the most famous church in the city. Inside, you will find the frescoes of the Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca, a Renaissance masterpiece of inestimable value.

The church itself is uniquely beautiful and much loved by both tourists and locals. Characterized by simplicity and essential lines, the Basilica contains priceless artistic heritage, such as the aforementioned frescoes by Piero della Francesca in the beautiful Bacci Chapel commissioned by the Bacci family in 1447.

Medici Fortress

The ancient Fortress is located on the San Donato hill at about 300 m height. When it was built, its purpose was that of a military base and of protection. Commissioned by Cosimo de Medici, it was destroyed by the French during the 1800s. After many restoration interventions, the Medici Fortress in Arezzo has returned to being a source of great pride for its residents.

Today, the exterior of the citadel is used as a public park, called the Parco del Prato.

The Petrarch House and the Vasari House

Just below the Parco del Prato, we find the home of the famous poet of the Decameron: Francesco Petrarca. Today, the birthplace of the fourteenth-century master houses a museum and the Petrarch Academy of Letters, Arts, and Sciences along with a well-stocked library.

Vasari’s house is also in Arezzo where you’ll find fabulously-frescoed rooms by the artist himself. The house has actually remained mostly intact.

Roman Amphitheater

Arezzo also holds evidence from the Roman times with its Amphitheater. Located in the southern part of town, today, in addition to being an important monument, it also houses the Archaeological Museum. The collection housed in the museum dates back to excavations between the 19th and 20th centuries. The ground floor is dedicated to the Etruscan and Roman periods, while on the first floor, there are special sections and collections of well-known people from Arezzo.

Artistic Heritage

As already mentioned, Arezzo is a city with an almost endless artistic heritage. Just think of the artistic greats that have walked these streets and contributed to the history of art. Other must-sees are Cimabue’s cross in the Basilica of San Domenico and the medieval towers of the Loggiato Vasariano. In short, art and culture are certainly not lacking in this city!

What to Eat in Arezzo

Many do not know that Arezzo is famous for its excellent Chianina beef, a typical breed of Valdichiana cattle which is often combined with an anchovy sauce from Valdarno. Crostini toasts served with a chicken liver pate are also delicious. The culinary culture of Arezzo is characterized, like that of Tuscany in general, by simple dishes made with genuine ingredients.