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Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici

The Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici tells a significant part of the history of Arezzo. It was originally built as the headquarters of an Arezzo institution that emerged in the second half of the 13th century and has since been a key point of reference for the city in terms of assistance and culture. The construction of the building began in 1375 and the facade was entrusted to Baldino di Cino and Niccolò di Francesco. However, the works came to a halt in 1377. Between 1395 and 1396, Spinello Aretino painted the lunette of the portal with “Cristo in pietà tra Maria e San Giovanni dolenti”.

In 1410, Lazzaro di Giovanni di Feo Bracci, a wealthy merchant from Arezzo, passed away and bequeathed his fortune to the Fraternita dei Laici. This generous contribution allowed for the continuation of the construction. In 1433, Bernardo Rossellino was commissioned to design the second floor, and he created the bas-relief of the “Madonna della Misericordia con il Bambino, tra i protomartiri Lorentino e Pergentino,” which was placed on the facade. It was flanked by two niches with the statues of “San Donato” and “Beato Gregorio”. The interventions continued until 1461. With the completion of the second level, including the balcony by Giuliano da Settignano, there was an extraordinary fusion of the preexisting Gothic structure with the new Renaissance language.

Between 1549 and 1550, following a design by Giorgio Vasari, the sail bell tower was added to accommodate the precious astronomical clock by Felice Salvatore da Fossato from 1552, still functioning today and a tourist attraction. Visitors to the palace have the opportunity to enter the gear room. The façade of the left extension was executed in the second half of the seventeenth century, based on an old Vasari project.

From 1786, the palace became the seat of the court, and since 2010, it has been adapted to the Palazzo di Fraternita Museum, enriched year after year with artistic treasures and thematic rooms, such as the one dedicated to the Vasari Aqueduct with paintings, drawings, documents, and videos related to the hydraulic work owned by the Fraternity of the Laity. Giorgio Vasari designated this fraternity as the universal heir of his assets in the event of the extinction of the male line of his family, as stated in his will drawn up on May 25, 1568.

Astronomical Clock by Felice Salvatore da Fossato (1552)

Sail bell tower designed by Giorgio Vasari

Astronomical clock

Madonna della Misericordia, polychrome terracotta (1435) Bernardo Rossellino

Museum of Palazzo di Fraternita

Museum of Palazzo di Fraternita

Madonna della Misericordia con i santi Donato e Gregorio, wall painting (1448) by Parri di Spinello

View of Piazza Grande, oil on canvas (1780-90), Cristoforo di Donato Conti

Gold Museum Orodautore

Gold Museum Orodautore

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