Arezzo is a small Etruscan city in Tuscany, about 80 kilometers in the south of Florence. Arezzo is one of the 12 most important and famous cities of Tuscany. From a hill rising from the river Arno, it dominates all the surrounding countryside. Arezzo is noteworthy because of its upper part of the town. It maintains its medieval appearance despite the addition of later structures. In there you can find:
- the cathedral;
- the town hall;
- the Fortezza Medicea.
“Arretium” was conquered by the Romans in 311 BC. Rising on the via Cassia, it was a military station. The Romans use it for their expansion into the basin of the river Po.
Between the 3rd and 4th century, Arezzo – before an Etruscan city and then a Roman one – became an Episcopal seat. With the Gothic War and the invasion of the Lombards they destroyed and partly dismantled the old city. As elsewhere throughout Europe, the invaders reused the stones for creating fortifications like castles. Of this Etruscan city, it remained only the Roman Amphitheater.
Arezzo was an independent city-state in Tuscany until the end of 1300. In this period the Florentine domination started, with the power of Florence itself and the Medicean family, especially the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It was in 1450-60 that, in the Church of “San Francesco di Arezzo”, Piero della Francesca painted marvelous and splendid frescoes, recently restored. These paintings are Arezzo’s and Tuscany’s most famous masterpieces.
At the end of the 18th century Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Arezzo. But the city soon resisted against the invaders and became a provincial capital. In 1860 Arezzo, born as an Etruscan city, joined the Kingdom of Italy.
In the following years all the buildings suffered heavy damages during the World War II. Only when the British released the city from the domain of the Germans, this precious city in Tuscany became to revive.
What to see in Arezzo, the Etruscan city
The main points to see in the Etruscan city of Arezzo are:
- first of all, the “Piazza Grande“. It is the most outstanding medieval square in the city. It is also the main marketplace of the city and currently the scene of the “Giostra del Saracino“. This is an annual medieval representation in which people, representing different areas of the town, dressed like knights on horseback, hit a wooden target of a carving of a Saracen king and score points. The entire town’s people dress up in medieval costume and, enthusiastically, cheer on the competitors.
Therefore this performance is appreciated by lots of the people of Tuscany who rushed numerous to participate.
- The square includes the “Palace of the Lay Fraternity”, the “Vasari Loggia“, a façade designed by Giorgio Vasari, the “Episcopal Palace”, seat of the bishops, “Cofani-Brizzolari Palace”, with the “Faggiolana tower”, the rests of the Communal Palace and the “Palazzo del Popolo”.
In addition Arezzo had also played an important role in Roberto Benigni’s film “Life is beautiful“. The Etruscan city in Tuscany is the place where the main characters live before the Nazis take forcibly them away to a concentration camp.
Arezzo is known that the food of Tuscany is one of the best in the world. Because Tuscany is famous for the production of good wine we suggest you to visit one of the many wineries located in the city. And of course, taste the wine! Consequently you also need to be sure to eat the famous meat “Fiorentina” earlier than leaving this stunning Etruscan.