Arezzo and the Middle Ages

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a lady of the court or a knight, you can’t miss medieval Arezzo.

You can still get a sense of the past centuries by exploring Arezzo’s churches and castles, fortresses, residences and white roads of the town. From the battles and ancient bacchanals that take place in the streets of Tuscan villages to the reenactments of historical events, you can immerse yourself in the medieval times of light and darkness, of intrigue and art. 

The most important period in Arezzo is the Middle-Ages. Where to start to discover the infinity of Medieval jewels that encloses this gem of Tuscany? It is a nice dilemma because in the land of Arezzo an incredible and endless heritage dating back to that period has been preserved. From the parish churches to the castles, from the villages to the hermitages here everything evokes to your mind the days of ladies and knights. 

You can visit places of prayer and bloody battles, live as a pilgrim and be dressed as the historian. In the churches, in the residences of lords of the past and famous people of Arezzo are kept wonders of art and relics from the inimitable charm. The squares and streets that welcome you to Arezzo and its four valleys have existed for centuries. As well as a nature sometimes marked by coexistence in harmony with man whereas in other cases remained unchanged and perfect for unforgettable excursions in its fairy-tale scenery. 

Here there are forests which saw Dante Alighieri walking during his exile and welcomed the preaching of Saint Francis of Assisi. Views that have conquered literati, artists and travelers.

Landscapes adorned with ancient towers, bell towers, walls, battlements, stone houses and bridges where you meet the most authentic soul of Medieval Tuscany. They are the ones where the great poet Francesco Petrarca and Guido Monaco, the inventor of musical notes, found their inspiration. Much of that past has not been lost. You find it in the traditions of work, in the kitchen, in the most important events that are part of the identity of Arezzo. 

Places

Breathe peace, bring it inside yourself. That is what happens when you visit the Eremo Le Celle near Cortona. A Franciscan place that is linked to the Sanctuary of La Verna, in Casentino. On the hill of Chiusi della Verna, where the Patron of Italy received the Stigmata in 1224, stands a sacred complex for the Catholic faith, which is a destination for intense pilgrimages. 

In the territory of Poppi, Casentino Forests surround the Monastery and the Hermitage of Camaldoli. Valtiberina also has its islands of silence to practice inner reflection: for example, the Hermitage of Montecasale in Sansepolcro and the Hermitage of La Casella in Caprese Michelangelo.

The works for the Cathedral of Arezzo, which stands on the hill of the city,  begun in the Thirteenth century and concluded much later. The Church of San Domenico with the incomparable Fourteenth-century wooden Crucifix painted by Cimabue is located not far from the Cathedral. The Middle Ages marries with the Renaissance on the facade of the Palace of the Fraternita dei Laici, to which the poetic Pieve of Santa Maria Assunta built starting from the year 1000 displays its back. Its beauty is reflected in that of the Pieve di Romena at the foot of the homonymous castle and surrounded by the countryside of Pratovecchio.

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Activities

Castiglion Fiorentino underground is an adventure suitable for adults and kids. Discover this charming town in the heart of Valdichiana from an absolutely original perspective. Following the path which passes under the road surface from the Cassero, you come across the story of how men and women lived here in ancient times.

A full immersion in time that was from the eighth century B.C. to the Middle Ages. Some stages of the experience: a village of protohistoric huts inside a house and in front of the remains of a sanctuary – both Etruscan -, at the base of two medieval towers.

Itineraries

Parish churches and streets are the most evocative witnesses of the Arezzo Middle Ages. You notice it when you walk along the Via Setteponti from or towards the Aretinian Valdarno and you come across mills, churches, natural glimpses which remain indelible in your memory.

Casentino is also a special place. Here the path and the prayer acquire a completely different flavor. There is a road which pilgrims used to walk centuries ago from Arezzo to the Upper Arno Valley. Today you too can walk there to discover the Medieval parish churches of Capolona. A poetic tour off the great tourist routes which seems embroidered specifically for the beautiful hills not far from the main city.

On the paths of Francis, spirituality and an extraordinary nature blend into unique itineraries in the world. Go on foot, by bike, on horseback or by car crossing Casentino, Valtiberina and Valdichiana. Follow in the footsteps of the Poor man of Assisi and let yourself be enveloped in the deeply mystical aura of Arezzo landscapes. 

Start with your backpack to know the story. This is the type of journey that Via Romea Germanica offers you from the ancient route in the green of the Apennine woods. Here is the pavement used since the time of the Romans to move between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna before then becoming the way of pilgrimages that from Northern Europe ended in Rome. Green and stone, forests and gullies restore you with their exceptional beauty.

A selection of the amazing attractions of Arezzo is concentrated in the video tribute to the city by Robert Whitworth. Watch this sequence of spectacular images to follow the mysterious knight and the young protagonist in the tour you have always dreamed of. An exclusive experience that you can do as a spectator watching the movie and then copy and experience live during your holiday in Arezzo.

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