Ancient cradle of treasures and great artists
Arezzo stands on a hilltop in southeastern Tuscany, overlooking four valleys: Valtiberina, Casentino, Valdarno and Valdichiana. The city dates back to the time of the founding of Alexandria in Egypt, as evidenced by the discovery of stone tools and the so-called “Man of the Elm” from the Palaeolithic period. Under the Romans, thanks to its position along Via Cassia, it became a centre of strategic importance, a hub of flourishing economic activity, the remains of which we can still admire today.
When walking around Arezzo, we recommend visiting the Gothic-style Cathedral, with its stunning stained-glass windows by Marcillat and the restored fresco of Mary Magdalene by Piero della Francesca. Also worth visiting are the splendid Pieve di S. Maria Romanesque parish church, Piazza Grande with the Logge Vasari, the Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici with its façade by Bernardo Rossellino, the picturesque medieval tower-houses, and the church of S. Domenico with the Crucifix painted by Cimabue. Not forgetting the Palazzo del Comune, Casa Petrarca and Palazzo Pretorio.
Many famous people were born in Arezzo, including architect and art historian Giorgio Vasari, poet Francesco Petrarca, music theorist Guido Monaco, and in nearby Caprese, Michelangelo Buonarroti.
The centre of Arezzo was badly damaged during World War II, but this made it the perfect set for key scenes in Roberto Benigni’s Oscar-winning film Life Is Beautiful. As you walk through, you can glimpse sets and experience atmospheres straight out of the big screen.
If you arrive by car, you can park in one of the car parks outside the walls, which are connected to the historic centre by pedestrian walkways and escalators.