Arezzo – The Medieval Queen of the South
Sitting quietly like the sleeping beauty waiting for the prince’s kiss, Arezzo is an utterly charming and quiet area in southeastern Tuscany of profound natural beauty. Located at the crossroad where four verdant valleys meet, Valdichiana, Valdarno, Casentino, and Tiberina, Arrezzo impresses with its lush landscape. Also infusing a deep sense of awe as you walk around the ancient Arezzo city, this magical region is home to artifacts and the Man of the Elm, the oldest human. His skull was discovered here in 1863, dating back to more than 12 millennia ago! Far more distant are the archaeological finds in Arezzo that included 15,000-year-old stone tools.
A mix of rolling hills and unique cultural pedigree
Besides imposing mountains and green pastures filled with vineyards producing the best wines, Arezzo also entices with its strong cultural and historical influence. Born in the Etruscan years, the remains of the ancient city walls speak of the area’s glorious history. As you stroll the maze-like streets of this lovely Tuscany treasure, the 16th-century Chimera bronze statue waits to take you thousands of years back in time.
Arezzo boasts a plethora of churches, museums, monuments, and fortresses, and even the remains of a Roman amphitheatre. Some of the most spectacular sites that attract the attention of millions of tourists year-round are the:
- San Francesco Church – Expect to stand in absolute awe with the fantastic fresco cycle that depicts the Legend of the True Cross, an astounding early Renaissance work of art.
- Piazza Grande – A fab 16th-century odd-shaped piazza in Tuscany and home to buildings from many different eras. Built on a downhill slope, Piazza Grande was the center of Arezzo’s civic life and the location for the market. A dominative figure here is Palazzo delle Logge that stands out for its simple architectural lines and supreme elegance. Twice a year, the piazza hosts a jousting matching too!
- San Domenico Basilica – A gothic-style church dedicated to San Domenico (Saint Dominic), particularly known for housing the wooden Crucifix by Cimabue.
- Cathedral – Don’t expect the glory and grandeur of the Duomos seen across Italy. The Arezzo Cathedral is a stylish and unbelievably humble-looking basilica that lacks the white/black marble features of its other counterparts. Yet, it is equally striking as the most sublime Cathedrals seen elsewhere.
- Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici – A delightful mix of architectural styles that also hosts a small museum. You will probably feel intrigued by the long arcade that sits below a local music school and runs along the upper side of Piazza Grande. Don’t be surprised if you hear music swirling in the air as you walk by the narrow, steep streets while passing through the historic gate!
- Medici Fortress – The medieval fortress occupies a hilltop spot offering heart-stopping views of the city, well-manicured gardens, the magnificent countryside, and ancient military defences.
The Saracen Joust
Every June and September, Arezzo slips into its festive colours with the Saracen Joust that is the talk of the town many months in advance. This competition is a game of chivalry dating back to the Middle Ages that began as a military training exercise and quickly turned into an important social function within the Arezzo community.
Today, it is a much-anticipated event that divides the region into four quarters, each represented by two riders called to joust with one another. Definitely a spectacle worth viewing that draws everybody to its appeal!
Accommodation options in Arezzo
Arezzo has a surprising amount of chic farmhouses, luxury villas, and exclusive mansions that please the requirements of even the most discerning guests. You simply select the location of your tasteful and well-appointed residence, be it close to the historical city surrounded by medieval glam or the outskirts, amidst stunning scenery. Then, feel free to pamper yourself with high-end amenities and modern facilities that contribute to royal-like holidays. While here, you may also visit many nearby cities, such as Poppi, Cortona, Florence, Perugia, Rome, and Anghiari!