The city of
Arezzo lies south of Florence in eastern Tuscany.
go back to ancient times. It was one of the most important of the 12
cities of the Etruscans and later became a Roman stronghold due to its
position dominating the upper and the middle valleys of the Arno, the
upper course of the Tiber and, to the south, the road to Rome.
times it was an important economic centre, rich in architectural
monuments, among them the Roman amphitheatre, of which important
fragments still survive.
It was famous
for its metal workers and for the craftsmen and artists who produced red
glazed vases (corallini) with a technique which spread through the whole
Roman world. After a period of ecclesiastical rule, Arezzo became a
powerful free city-state during the XII and XIII centuries. Then the
fortunes of Arezzo declined and the city finally surrendered to Florence
(1384). In 1535 it was incorporated, with the rest of Tuscany, into the
Medici Grand Duchy.
Arezzo is set
on a hillside on the edge of a plain formed by the flooding of the Arno.
The Cathedral and the Medici Fortress stand on a hilltop, from which the
main streets lead to the city gates on the plain below. The upper part
of the city retains a distinctly mediaeval aspect. The lower city
towards the plain has a lively modern atmosphere.
mainly attracts visitors interested in its world-famous gold and
clothing industry, handcrafts and the Guido d’Arezzo International
geographic position, fast connections to the national railway and
highway network, together with the modern facilities of the Commerce and
Meeting Centre, make Arezzo an ideal town for meetings in the work and
monuments in Arezzo are the Cathedral, built between the late 13th and
16th centuries, one of the city’s most famous architectural monuments
containing valuable works of art, including a Magdalene by Piero della
Francesca, Santa Maria della Pieve (12th and 13th centuries) is the
largest and most beautiful Romanesque church in the region. Its “tower
of a hundred holes” is the emblem of Arezzo. Behind the church is the
Piazza Grande where on the first Sunday of September every year mounted
knights representing the four districts of the city compete in the Joust
of the Saracen (Giostra del Saracino). The piazza is surrounded by the
church and the Palazzetto della Fraternità (14th-15th-16th centuries),
the palace of a lay fraternity, on the third side; and by the impressive
mass of the pillared Loggiato dei Vasari on the fourth side; in the
Basilica of San Francesco are preserved Piero della Francesca’s frescoes
of the Story of the Cross (dating from 1452), a lodestone for those who
consider Renaissance civilisation one of the great achievements of the
Well worth a
visit is the Archeological Museum with its rich and varied collections,
including notable numismatic collections, Etruscan and Greek vases and