Etruscan and Roman times in Arezzo
Let yourself go, right back to Arezzo’s ancient roots
The splendor of Arezzo began during the Etruscan times as a city of gold and later in Roman times with the majestic amphitheater. Arezzo and its four valleys are full of traces of its glorious past. You can see these traces when you visit its archeological sites, museums and parks. It’s a journey that goes back more than one thousand years.
First the Etruscans, a mysterious civilization of goldsmiths and architects. After them the Romans, the coral vessels, the figure of Patron in love with culture. Welcome to a city loved by these great peoples of the past, which made it rich and splendid.
Let yourself be fascinated by the Etruscan age, which transformed Arezzo from a village of huts in lucumonia with its first city walls. In Castelsecco you can admire the contemporary city from above and simply look back at the remains of an incredible archaeological site. As in a treasure hunt after centuries, the Etruscans have scattered clues of their time in all the valleys of Arezzo, especially in Casentino and Valdichiana.
The glory of the Romans, on the other hand, speaks to you from the stones of one of the largest amphitheatres in Etruria, little less than the Colosseum. At that time go up the streets that connected the city with Rome and beyond the Apennines with Rimini. Today those routes intersect with the trekking routes surrounded by greenery.
Also in and near the old city centre there are roads that guide you to discover wonders of the Roman period. Floors, mosaics, columns, the remains of Arezzo transport you in a unique journey back in history. Destination: thousands of years ago.
From the earthen vessels sealed by Arezzo to the Etruscan jewels passing through the Crater of Euphronios with the effigy of Chimera, the symbol of Arezzo. The Gaio Cilnio Mecenate National Archaeological Museum brings together objects of inestimable value. Nearby, the Roman Amphitheatre of Arezzo reminds you of the gladiatorial games and hunts that entertained the people of Etruria, housed in this beautiful arena.
Climb the hill of San Cornelio to immerse yourself in the secret of Castelsecco, where there is the only Etruscan theatre so far found in the world with the Cyclopean Wall and the ruins of the temple of fertility. Not far from there is the wonderful Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie. In this place there was the Fonte Tecta, a spring venerated by the Etruscans and Romans for the supposed healing powers of its waters.
The hills of Saint Peters and Saint Donato, where the Cathedral and the Medicean Fortress stand, were the seat of the Etruscan and Roman Forum. Mosaic floors and remains of cult buildings reveal where the most important place of Arezzo public life was.
And outside the main city? Admire the amazing heritage of antiquity exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Castiglion Fiorentino and the MAEC of Cortona. You feel tiny in front of the Girifalco Fortress and the mighty walls of Cortona, both of Etruscan origin.Be captivated by the incomparable beauty of the Melons of the Archaeological Park of Sodo and the poetry of the Etruscan tombs hidden at the foot of the hills of Cortona in the midst of olive trees.
The Etruscan and Roman past is also hidden under your feet in Castiglion Fiorentino. The underground path of the Cassero in one of the most beautiful villages of Valdichiana reveals a hidden face protected from the insults of time. A tour under the city surface, a visit “from below” to listen to the past of Castiglioni.
From prehistory to the Middle Ages among the archaeological remains of the museums of Castiglion Fiorentino. As if the village was a time machine you move into an arc of history that goes from the Eighth century B.C. to the Middle- Ages. Objects that recall the lives and generations of the past are concentrated under the perimeter of the town.
Among the rarities that will be caught in your mind are a hut and an Etruscan sanctuary. A walk under the everyday streets to discover another Castiglion Fiorentino.
Not far from the centre of Arezzo stands a stone shell that houses a precious archaeological site. It is the wall of Castelsecco, on the hill of San Cornelio. Inside this ring of walls surrounded by woods there are the remains of an Etruscan place which is still an object of studies. Breathe in the atmosphere of this magical place dedicated to the celebration of life and enjoy the enchanting view of the city from above.
In Arezzo unleash your curiosity in search of the Etruscan and Roman traces that inhabit the city centre. Not only Amphitheatre and Archaeological Museum. Walk in the footsteps of the civilizations that lived here in remote times, visiting the courtyard of the Basilica of Saint Francis, Palazzo Lambardi and the district of Colcitrone. Then climb further up to the Medicean Fortress and the Prato. Use your eyes as radar in these places so that your eyes catch the glint of pearls dating back to the origins of the city.
For an exclusive Etruscan-Roman tour in Arezzo, go to Cortona. Here there are not one but two cities. That of the living on Monte Sant’Egidio, emblem of authentic Tuscany and treasure chest of gems of art and architecture and that of the dead, downstream and in the surroundings. In the first Cortona you will find the imposing ancient walls, the Girifalco Fortress, the prestigious Museum of the Etruscan Academy and the City of Cortona. At the Archaeological Park of Sodo there is a taste of the amazing necropolis of “melons” which also involves Camucia. Finally, the dens of the hill introduce the remains of paved Roman roads recently found at higher altitudes in the Cortonese mountain.
A proposal of ancient and irresistible paths and landscapes explore the Balze del Valdarno thanks to the Cave Road. Traveling through the Grand Canyon of Tuscany. The ochre-grey towers of the Balze illustrate the history of these unique reliefs, former shores of a large lake before becoming natural sculptures soaring towards the sky. Geologic monuments of strong suggestion that will parade you in front of villages and fabulous views, accompanying you with other reserves and protected areas up to the course of the Arno. Once there, excited in front of the panorama that Leonardo da Vinci depicted behind the Mona Lisa giving you some hours of birdwatching and unforgettable trekking.