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Arezzo - Saracino

(12 km - 15 min.) You can visit the Duomo, Pieve and the Church of San Francesco ( Piero della Francesca). The last but not the least "Piazza Grande" the main Square (Movie "Life is Beautiful"). Two important events take place in "Piazza Grande": the first Sunday of every month, and the Saturday before, there is the Antique Fair, one of the most famous in Italy, and in June (usually the third Saturday) and in September (usually the first Sunday) there is the "Saracino Joust" an ancient games with horses remembering the fights against Saracens. For visiting the city I suggest to park your car at "Pietri" car parking which is under the ancient city wall; from "Pietri" car parking there are escalators which bring you directly in front of Arezzo Cathedral. In the city there are a lot of restaurant where you can eat typical Tuscan food.


The small church in stones and bricks is a popular venue for "The Legend of the True Cross" by Piero della Francesca, rightly considered one of the masterpieces of Italian art. The cycle of frescoes was inspired by the Golden Legend written by Bishop Ligurian Jacopone From Varagine and very popular in the Middle Ages. The "Legend" tells the story of the piece of wood with which it was built the Cross of Jesus raised from the branch that God put in the mouth of Adam died, the tree was to be used to build the Temple of King Solomon but "rebelled" shortening and lengthening necessary. Thrown into a river was used as a walkway until the Queen of Sheba, he prophesied use. Solomon then bury him until the israleti not found him to make the cross of Jesus. The frescoes are held in a non-chronological but are sorted by symmetry: at the top there are the outdoor scenes, in the central court scenes on architectural background, and, below, the battles. Inside the Basilica of San Francesco is to admire a fresco by Luca Signorelli and the large crucifix middle of the Master of St. Francis.

Where: Piazza San Francesco
When: Monday / Friday: 9:00 to 17:30 Saturday: 9:00 to 17:00 Sunday: 13:00 to 17:00. Visiting hours every 30 minutes. Reservations required at tel. 0575 352 727.
How much: free church. Visit frescoes € 8


Piazza Grande or Piazza Vasari of Arezzo is one of the most harmonious architectural complexes of Italy, then the world. Built in steep climb, its unusual trapezoid shape overlook churches, historic buildings, galleries and antique shops. On the left the church of Santa Maria and the Palace of the Fraternity of Lay with the astronomical clock still works. On this side there is also the splendid public fountain. In the high side of the square stands the silhouette of the Palace of the Lodges built to a design by Vasari. To the right, the Palace Lappoli with wooden gallery and the Palace of Casatorre Coffins with the characteristic tower. Trivia: This is the square of "Life is Beautiful" Benigni, when you see it several times down a bike. Piazza Grande is home to the monthly Antique Fair and the Joust of the Saracen.


If the Church of San Francesco is the most popular with tourists, due to the presence of the frescoes of Piero della Francesca, the Cathedral of San Donato is the church of Arezzo and has followed the ups and downs over the centuries. Built on the site of the ancient Acropolis town, was built starting in 1278 and ended only in 1500. The façade was rebuilt in the early 1900s while the interior, the original, is divided into three naves. Stand out for the beauty of stained glass Guillame de Marcillat and Magdalene by Piero della Francesca painted in 1465. The Museum annex Diocesan there are different works including some of Vasari and Luca Signorelli. The marble panel with the "Baptism of Christ" that decorates the baptismal font is attributed to Donatello.

Where: at the highest point of the city
When: daily 07: 00-12: 30/15: 00-18: 30
How much: Free


The large crucifix by Cimabue, recently restored, is the big attraction of the Basilica of San Domenico. The large cross, more than 3 meters high, is the first work attributed to Cimabue and was painted between 1268 and 1271 approximately.
The exterior of the Romanesque-Gothic has an unfinished facade with belfry. The interior has a nave with frescoes largely deteriorated while it is still visible the Gothic altar of the Chapel Dragondelli.

Where: in the upper part of the city not far from the Duomo When: weekdays and holidays 8.30-13.00-15.30-19.00
How much: Free


This small museum is one of many little-known Italian chests and always overshadowed by the big galleries. The Museum of Medieval Art of Arezzo, however, is just what you would expect from a museum: a fine selection of works, tranquility for potersele admire without crowds, knowledgeable and helpful guides. The museum is housed in the beautiful "Casa della Dogana" that once housed the State Monopoly. After passing the large backyard porch you enter the rooms divided by historical period. Along the way you will encounter works by Pietro Lorenzetti, Parri Spinello, Bartolomeo della Gatta, Andrea della Robbia, Vasari, beautiful ceramics of Umbrian and Tuscan schools up to the most recent works of the nineteenth century Tuscan paintings by Telemaco Signorini and Cecioni.

Where: Via S.Lorentino 8. At 800 meters from Piazza Grande along Via Piaggio Murello When: daily 8: 30-19: 30
How much: € 4 whole; € 2 reduced


Overlooking the Piazza Grande, the apse of the church of Santa Maria contributes documentation to the scenery of the whole of the principal place of Arezzo. The main facade of the church is hidden in Seteria Street, on the left of the square. Has five blind arches in the basement and three orders of arcades that stand about 68 columns. The massive bell tower on the right is called the "100-hole" for the special processing of the mullioned pairs on five floors. The interior has three naves with trussed ceiling. The most important work of the Parish is the Polyptych by Pietro Lorenzetti depicting a Madonna and Child, the Annunciation, Assumption and 12 saints. The apse, which overlooks the Piazza Grande, is Romanesque with blind arches and two loggias.

Where: Piazza Grande When: weekdays and holidays 8.30-13.00-15.30-19.00
How much: Free


Arezzo rightly paid tribute to one of its most illustrious sons: Giorgio Vasari, painter, architect and art historian Italian. Vasari bought this building in 1511 but lived there for a long time: immediately after the wedding with fourteen Niccolosa Bacci, he moved to Rome and Florence. Despite this, he oversaw directly home decoration collecting paintings, sculptures and other works go largely dispersed. In 1911 it became the property of the State which intended to Vasari Museum and Archive, which contains writings and correspondence that the artist held with other personalities of his time including Michelangelo, Cosimo I de Medici and Pius V. The properties of is disputed between the state and the current owners of the building, which they tried to sell the entire archive to a Russian buyer. The visit to the House Museum can admire the works distributed over three floors: the apartment with the House of Fame and the Arts, the House of the Muses, the House of Abraham and the Salone del Camino decorated by Vasari and his pupils. In addition there is a beautiful roof garden that the artist personally cared.

How: Via XX September 55 (upper part of Arezzo)
When: weekdays 8,30-19.30; Holidays 8,30-13.30. Closed Tuesdays.
How much: € 2


Every first Saturday and Sunday of the month, Piazza Grande Arezzo is transformed into a huge antiques market that attracts sellers and enthusiasts from all over Italy. More than 500 exhibitors occupying the square selling items of all kinds: a treasure trove for experienced buyers of art or merely curious. The Antique Fair of Arezzo has almost 50 years (since 1968) and for the glory of the organizers, never missed an appointment. Only two times a year, however, the Giostra del Saracino. The second Saturday of June (Joust of San Donato) at night and the first Sunday of September (Giostra of September) day, Piazza Grande becomes the scenery of this ancient competition in medieval costumes. The knights of the four city districts must hit the shield of the "tumbler" with a spear without being hit in turn by the puppet of the Saracen. The carousel recalls the time when we trained against the possible invasion of the "Mori" but then became over the centuries a simple celebration of skill.


The Saracen Joust is a medieval reenactment that takes place in the city of Arezzo . Take part in the four districts in which the city is divided , namely : the District of Port Crucifera (aka Colcitrone ) , the District of Port Forum (also known as San Lorentino ) , the District of Port St. Andrew and the District Porta Holy Spirit (formerly Porta del Borgo ). The Giostra del Saracino is run on the Piazza Grande in Arezzo on the second Saturday of June ( Joust of San Donato ) at night and the first Sunday of September ( Giostra of September ) daytime .



Nature has blessed Arezzo hills, vineyards, orchards, wild animals and those of the farm. In addition, the sea is far away, the long winters and cool summers, so expect a hearty cuisine made of pasta, meat, cheese, vegetables and good wine. Expect also the great Italian cucina povera: as a starter arrive crostini with chicken livers and affettatti Casentino; as first courses never fail from the menu acquacotta (bread eggs, cheese, mushrooms), pappardelle with hare sauce or ocio (goose or chicken), gnocchi with ricotta and spinach, bringoli or pici with various toppings. Among the latter dominates the Chianina beef, the "Griffins" the nose of the calf seasoned with spices and tomato, a nice selection of cheeses including abbucciato Florentine. The typical dessert is the province of Arezzo and Gattò Arezzo, stub sponge cake soaked with chocolate and alchermes.


We would like to give you some ideas on what to visit in Arezzo


(12 km - 15 min from Cappannelle Holiday House - Castiglion Fibocchi - Arezzo.)
You can visit the Duomo, Pieve and the Church of San Francesco ( Piero della Francesca). The last but not the least "Piazza Grande" the main Square (Movie "Life is Beautiful")


The city of Arezzo is located at the confluence of three of the four valleys that make up the province. Directly north of the city begins the Casentino, which is the valley in which the first part of the Arno; Northwest is the Upper Valdarno, Arno path always in the stretch that flows between Arezzo and Florence; South is located in the Val di Chiana, a plain derived from remediation of existing marshes, whose most important watercourse is the Canale Maestro della Chiana. Through the easy pass of Torrino and the valley of Cerfone, you have access to the North-East to the fourth valley, the Tiber, traveled by the first stretch of the Tiber.

Etruscan city

Arezzo was founded in pre-Etruscan in an area inhabited since prehistoric times, as evidenced by the discovery of stone tools and the so-called "man Elm", dating back to the Paleolithic, which occurred near the hamlet dell'Olmo during excavation work a short tunnel of the railway line Rome-Florence in 1863.

The area at the confluence of Valdarno, Valdichiana and Casentino, in fact, is a natural step for those who want to cross the Apennines. Then there is news of permanent settlements of pre-Etruscan in an area not far from the current urban area, the hill of St. Cornelius, where they found traces of a wall difficult to date because stamped by the mighty Roman walls. The Etruscan settlement was built instead on the hilltop of San Donato, occupied by the city. We know that the Etruscan Arezzo, called Arıtım (Latin Arretium), already existed in the ninth century BC

Arezzo was then one of the major Etruscan cities, and most likely home to one of 12 lucumonie. To this period belong the works of art of exceptional value, such as the Chimera, preserved in Florence, whose image characterizes the city so as to become almost a second symbol and also noteworthy is the large necropolis of Poggio del Sole, formed in VI century BC and used to Roman times.

The rising power of Rome, the city, along with Etruscan sisters, tried to contain the expansionist tendencies, but the army put together by Arezzo, Perugia and Volterra was defeated in Roselle, near Grosseto, in 295 BC; and so in the third century BC Arezzo was conquered by the Romans who latinized his name Etruscan Arretium. 

Roman City

In Roman times, especially in the Republican period, Arezzo became an important symbol of the Roman expansion to the north, and a defensive bastion of the unborn empire, thanks to its strategic location which made it a must for anyone who wanted to reach the increasingly powerful city on the Tiber. Arezzo found itself having to defend itself by the Gauls who marched against Rome. His rescue came a strong army led by the consul Lucius Metellus, who was killed in battle but halted the advance of the Gauls. The fact remains track in a place name, Campoluci, indicating the stretch of flat near the Arno where the consul fought and died. After the fact, Arezzo became the seat of a Roman garrison permanently.

But he grew increasingly jealous of its autonomy, so much that he tried several times to regain their independence during the civil wars of the Roman Republic, before siding with Mario and then Pompey. Sulla and Caesar retaliated by making a colony for their veterans, which caused a considerable readjustment demographic erased from Arezzo - as all of Etruria - the remaining traces of the old culture.

At the beginning of the imperial city, active and full of inventive, became rich and prosperous as in the time of the Punic Wars, when it was the main supplier of weapons to the shipment of Scipio in Africa. Were built many public buildings, such as the theater, baths, and an amphitheater of considerable size that has come down to our day. The cultural life had a big boost thanks to the fruitful activity of the first of Arezzo famous in the world of arts and letters, Gaius Maecenas Cilnio, whose name will forever be linked to the promotion of culture. Arezzo was also a center of metal working and, above all, of ceramic vessels: vessels produced in Arezzo were called "coral" for their color.

First millennium A.D.

The collapse of the empire, Arezzo while undergoing the decline of the decline of the Roman Empire and the barbarian invasions, the prestige of the secular and the favorable position on the Via Cassia Arezzo maintained a strong importance during the Dark Ages in the Middle Ages. Borderland between the domains of the Goths and the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna witnessed fierce clashes between the two factions, and was one of the first centers occupied by the Lombards. The Goths and the Lombards they recorded much on the ethnic and language of Arezzo. The Lombards built castles and churches laid the foundations of medieval Arezzo. With the arrival of the Franks of Charlemagne who privileged relations with what they thought was the highest local power, the bishop, the spread of Christianity, in fact, had become home to the episcopate. It is one of the few cities which are known all bishops who have succeeded to date. After a thousand his bishop began to boast, first in Italy, with the title of "Count". To this period belong the lost "Old Cathedral" of Colle Pionta, whose work participated Maginardo, the Cathedral and the Church of Santa Maria Assunta.

Under the protection of the bishop developed in the countryside of Arezzo also a large number of abbeys, which helped to build a trading system and a minimum cultural sphere. In this period Arezzo saw the birth of another of its illustrious sons: Guido Monaco or Guido d'Arezzo. Who became a Benedictine Abbey of Pomposa and later in Rome, developed the new method of musical notation and the tetragrammaton.

Free town

After 1000 the feudal power, identified with the bishop who resided outside the city on the height of Pionta, perched like a castle, came alongside a citizen power, ordering the city had evolved and established the free commune: the presence of a console is attested in Arezzo in 1098. the duality of powers soon fathered a conflict between the bishop, who saw his authority come feudal emperor and thus embodied the first expression of the Ghibelline party, and the judiciary town. The friction resulted in various popular uprisings against the bishop and the reprisals of this, he called to the rescue Emperor Henry, who in Italy down to Rome, was precisely Arezzo in his way. The retaliation was tough but not stopped the development of the City, which continued especially after the Concordat of Worms in 1122 which put an end to disputes between empire and papacy and, in fact, the figure of the bishop-counts.

The town hall
It is at this time, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, which dates from the beginning of construction of the Parish, designed to accommodate a bishop resized to his pastoral duties, and other churches who receive him the monastic orders urbanized forcibly after the confiscation of their possessions feudal. The influence of territorial Arezzo grew significantly, culminating with the capture of Cortona, which occurred in 1298 after a bloody battle. The renewed political importance was accompanied by a flowering of culture: the city was endowed with a university, the Studium, whose laws date back to 1252, shone the first minds of the new Italian lyric poetry Guittone d'Arezzo and Cenne from the Guitar; science with that Refreshments who in 1282 wrote "The composition of the world's" first scientific work in the vernacular; and painting, with Margaritone d'Arezzo, then joined by masters such as Florence and Siena Cimabue and Pietro Lorenzetti. Finally in 1304 was born in Arezzo, a leaked Florentine Francesco Petrarca.

The battle of Campaldino
While the power of Arezzo was growing more and more, grew at the same time the desire to even the neighbors of the importance, and was therefore inevitable that you came to the clash with Florence and Siena. After various events the Arezzo Ghibellines suffered a defeat against the armies of Siena and Florence in the battle of Campaldino (1289) near Poppi. In this battle, in which he participated Dante Alighieri for the Guelph died also the bishop of Arezzo Guglielmino Ubertini. He later claimed the lordship of Tarlati Pietramala, whose main representative was Guido Tarlati that although became bishop in 1312 continued to maintain good relations with the Ghibellines in Tuscany and out, such as with Ordelaffi. The lordship of Guido Tarlati temporarily put an end to factional disputes between Tarlati and Ubertini and the Guelph family of Boscoli; so ferocious that St. Francis had refused at the time to enter the city, seeing her "haunted by devils", episode remembered by Giotto frescoes in the Upper Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

Guido Tarlati healed the state budget, bringing it to such a flourishing Arezzo that began to fly its currency, expanded the city walls, concluded an honorable peace with Florence and Siena managed to ally with and expand the territorial domain to the south and east, him bishop, at the expense of papal possessions; so much so that the Pope from Avignon excommunicated him and declared him a heretic. This did not prevent him, in 1327, of crowned emperor in Milan Louis of Bavaria. In this period there was also developed a strong merchant class that had imposed some changes in the government of the city, such as the creation of the judiciary of the captain of the people and of the guilds, and the establishment of a judiciary representative of the four parts into which the city was divided: Crucifera port, port hole, door and door Sant'Andrea del Borgo, which are called the four districts argue that today's Giostra del Saracino.

A Guido Tarlati passed away in 1327 succeeded Pier Saccone, his brother, who was not in the same league. Arezzo gradually began to lose ground against the rival Florence, losing for the first time the independence in 1337: Pier Saccone, pressed by domestic opponents, from external enemies (Florence and Perugia) and the economic crisis, gave Arezzo to Florence for ten years in exchange for money. After this period, the independence was recovered, but not prosperity. The second half of the fourteenth century, however, was characterized by a substantial social peace, which ended abruptly with the project of Bishop John Albergotti Arezzo to enter the sphere of influence of the papacy. The struggles between the Guelphs and Ghibellines riesplosero with violence, and the city experienced several times the experience of plunder by mercenary soldiery rescue calls now for an hour on the other side, or even come to one and all past 'else if that paid better, according to the custom of the time. Last was the captain French Enguerrand de Coucy transiting the area to Naples, where he was to attack Charles III of Naples on behalf of Louis of Anjou, and was hired by the Ghibellines who had just been expelled from the city. Enguerrand taken with ease what remained of Arezzo, but in the meantime his lord Louis of Anjou died, leaving the army without purpose and without money. Florence took advantage immediately, giving the French captain forty thousand florins because hand over Arezzo, and he accepted. After that, Enguerrand group crossed the Apennines, having with them the precious relic of the head of San Donato, patron of Arezzo. At his coming to Forlì, Sinibaldo Ordelaffi, the Lord of that city, redeemed the relic, which was held with great veneration until it was returned to Arezzo [5].

In 1384, therefore, Arezzo was annexed to the state Tuscan dominated by Florence. The Florentine dominion is visible from now on also in architecture and Art: Spinello Aretino was the last artist of native school; after him prevails the Florentine school. In this period were made by Piero della Francesca frescoes of the Legend of the True Cross in the Basilica of San Francesco. The Florentine government tried to make himself acceptable to the city, succeeding in part thanks to the wise election as Secretary of the Republic of Arezzo thick, historian and poet Leonardo Bruni, who worked to promote the integration of Arezzo in Tuscany new state now with the exception of Siena and Lucca, entirely under the control of Florence. There was however a slow economic decline and cultural city. The oldest part, including the fortress and cathedral, was profoundly changed by the construction of the Medici Fortress, early example of modern fortification.

Modern era
In the first five Arezzo was involved in a revolt about anti, which pitted in Florence the captain Vitellozzo Vitelli, the "Duke Valentino" Cesare Borgia and her father Pope Alexander VI, and the king of France, Louis XII. The revolt was extinguished but after a few days, and cost the life of calves that he was killed by the same Cesare Borgia during a banquet, with a method which Niccolò Machiavelli dedicated a treaty dated 1503. In 1525 the city and the countryside struck a plague , which was followed by a famine that his knees Arezzo economy and led to a new uprising against Florence in 1529, even though this more related to external events that a real popular will. The Medici, who had been driven from Florence in 1527, had now their Pope Clement VII, belonging to the Medici family. These concluded a peace with the Empire and secured so the imperial army, commanded by Philibert of Chalon, to force the return of the Medici in Florence. The army from Rome passed from the territory of Arezzo, then part of the Florentine possessions and manned by a garrison of Florence, and the city instead groped a resistance siege thought unlikely to benefit the situation to regain independence, the yield by treating an officer of the imperial army original of the Tiber Valley, this Francis Bivignano, said "red Count". The Florentine garrison took refuge in the fortress but was soon expelled, while the Conte Rosso took possession of the Valdarno, Anghiari and Sansepolcro. But the contest ended with the defeat of the Florentine Republic in Gavignana August 1530, the Medici, they saw the reason to keep Arezzo separated from the rest of Tuscany, and sent back the imperial army to take possession. In 1554 also fell Siena, and fifteen years later the whole of Tuscany, with the exception of Lucca and the rule of Deans at the Argentario, became the Grand Duchy.

Cosimo I Medici put into effect a restructuring plan in Arezzo planning for defensive purposes: the perimeter of the walls was reduced as the number of doors, the fortress was rebuilt and expanded. In this context was also completed the cathedral, and were shot down all historians historical buildings of the city, including the old Town Hall and the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, Palazzo Tarlati Pietramala and 17 religious buildings: in practice the 'entire historic center of the city towered the ancient seat of the Etruscan town and the Roman forum, creating with material derived from the destruction of the buildings floor space between the two hills of San Pietro and San Donato, the Lodges were built due to the Medici coat of Giorgio Vasari. During the breaking up, were found the famous bronze statues of Minerva of Arezzo and the Chimaera of Arezzo. It was also completely destroyed the Old Cathedral and church buildings millennial around him on the Hill Pionta, the so-called "Vatican" Arezzo located outside the fourteenth century walls to avoid that could be used for military purposes by enemies who besieged Arezzo. The period of the Medici Grand Duchy in the second half of the sixteenth century, however, saw in all of Tuscany, a slow but inexorable economic and cultural decay accompanied by demographic decline, which will reverse only in the eighteenth century, with the initiatives of enlightened Pietro Leopoldo of Lorraine.

In the eighteenth century it was completed the reclamation of the Val di Chiana. In 1796 he began a military campaign of invasion of Italy by the French. The commanding general of this invasion was Napoleon Bonaparte. Even Arezzo was conquered in 1799 but was the center of the movement of "Viva Maria", one of the anti-Napoleonic outbreaks occurred in those years in Italy.

Following these facts Arezzo was recognized by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the provincial capital. In 1860 the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and then Arezzo, became part of the Kingdom of Italy.

The regained administrative autonomy and the opening of rail with Florence and Rome stimulated new turmoil. Continued development of the century, as demonstrated by the strong growth of the population, the gradual shift of the city center towards the plain with the construction of new neighborhoods, as well as various industrial and commercial initiatives. In 1925 was built the Palace of the Province, frescoed by Adolfo de Carolis with the hall of the "Great Arezzo". Abrupt withdrawal of this evolutionary process was caused by World War II, when bombing destroyed nearly 60% of the buildings, with extensive damage also to the artistic heritage which was still recovered. The Aretini participated courageously in the partisan struggle, paying a heavy toll of victims [6]. After the war, we set about the reconstruction with fervor, and already in the fifties was resumed in full development, which now tended to give the city new connotations urban, economic and political.

Now Arezzo and Arezzo District (Provincia Arezzo) is famous in the world for Arezzo Jewelry Fair, Arezzo Wave and Giostra del Saracino.


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