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Arezzo and the Renaissance

The harmony of shapes, colors, perspective. The Tuscan Renaissance is the expression of genius and universal beauty, which has given birth to true masterpieces of art and architecture in the land of Arezzo.
Testimonies of the genius of Giorgio Vasari, Piero della Francesca, Beato Angelico, Luca Signorelli, Bartolomeo della Gatta and the artists of the Arezzo and Cortona schools. A gallery spread in the heart of the historic center of the city, to be discovered step by step in an itinerary that touches the places of worship and the most important museums of Arezzo.

A journey into this golden century, which starts outside the walls built by the Medici around the city. The first stop is the Church of S. Maria delle Grazie, with the portico of Benedetto da Maiano summa of architectural studies on perspective, a masterpiece of geometry and play of light, immersed in the greenery and peace that you can breathe in this sacred place. A light that within Santa Maria delle Grazie blends with the bright color of the glazed terracotta of the high altar of Andrea della Robbia.

Inside the walls we find the Church of SS. Annunziata, from ancient history, founded on the miracle of Our Lady of Tears. Built in the 16th century on a project by Bartolomeo della Gatta, inside it shines thanks to the twelve windows of Marcillat and it houses “The Deposition” by Giorgio Vasari, “The Adoration of the shepherds” by Niccolò Soggi and the “Vision of St. Francis” by Pietro da Cortona.

A few steps from the Church there are two unmissable museums for Renaissance enthusiasts: the Casa Vasari Museum, a house in Arezzo designed and frescoed by the master. A small jewel of art and architecture, which houses the Vasari Archive, with the letters of Vasari and the other Greats of his era, Michelangelo among all; the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art that in the historic Palace Bruni Ciocchi, also known as the “Dogana”, hosts the Convito at the Wedding of Ester and Assuero, one of the largest panel paintings from the 16th century, together with works by Bartolomeo della Gatta and the Bottega dei Della Robbia.

Going to Piazza della Badia, you can find the Abbey of Saints Flora and Lucille, church of the 13th century, transformed in the middle of the 16th century on a project by Giorgio Vasari and today casket of the monumental complex of the altar he himself built for the family chapel. A place of silence and meditation, where to be welcomed by the sacristan who will guide you on a small tour of wonders, to discover the iconic Yellow Vasari of the Pala Albergotti, the magical illusion of the fake Baroque dome by Andrea Dal Pozzo and the fresco of Saint Lawrence by Bartolomeo della Gatta.
Continuing the journey in the footsteps of Piero della Francesca we arrive in Piazza San Francesco, where we find the Basilica of San Francesco that houses the cycle of frescoes La Leggenda della Vera Croce, masterpiece of the Biturgen master.

Leaving the San Francesco Basilica the tour continues in Via Cavour, continuiung along Corso Italia where you can find Palazzo Redi and Palazzo Guillichini, perfect examples of Renaissance architecture. Corso Italia will lead you straight to Piazza Grande. Once arrived, it will be clear from the first glance that everything bears Vasari’s signature: from the Logge Vasari to the Palazzo della Fraternità dei Laici. The architectural jewels of one of the most beautiful squares in the world. But the journey does not end here. The climb from the historic center of Arezzo continues to the Cathedral of Santi Pietro e Donato. You can find the delicacy of the Renaissance faces of Piero della Francesca that can be found in S. Maria Maddalena, frescoed to the left of the altar. In the cathedral the windows of Marcillat and the white Robbiane in the Chapel of Our Lady of Comfort shine like a rainbow.

Dulcis in fundo, the Medici Fortress, built on Colle San Donato at the behest of Cosimo I De Medici. A fortress with an unusual history, built by the lord of Florence to defend against the Aretine. Today the walls and bastions of this splendid stone pentagon remain. The Fortress has become the perfect space for exhibitions of contemporary art and events. From the top of its walls there is a long walk that runs along the entire profile of the Fortress and that gives us a spectacular panorama capable of capturing all the city of Arezzo with a single look.

Our Lady of Mercy and Saints by Parri Spinelli – National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art

Convito at the Wedding of Ester and Assuero by Giorgio Vasari – National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art

Pardon of Assisi by Guillaume De Marcillat – Basilica’s stained-glass window / Basilica of Saint Francis

The Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca (Arezzo in the background) – Basilica of Saint Francis

Our Lady of Mercy and Saints by Parri Spinelli / Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici

Altar by Giorgio Vasari and Andrea Pozzo’s fake dome / Abbey of Saints Flora and Lucilla