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Logge Palace

On the 6th of July 1570, the deans of the Fraternita dei Laici requested Cosimo I de Medici for a new public building for Piazza Grande. On the 19th July 1572, Giorgio Vasari was appointed by the Fraternita to design the so-called “Palazzo delle Logge”. The construction started on the 27th of January 1573, but Vasari died the year after and the palace was finished by Alfonso and Giulio Parigi in 1595.

The imposing building changed the shape of the square, reducing it on the north west side and acting as a last blow on the glorious mediaeval citadel, already taken apart by the construction of the new fortress. Some shops then found their places under the long arcade. In 1670 a design of a twin building on the opposite side of the square was made, but the project was denied by the ruler of the city and the idea was scrapped.The Logge palace has some simple architectural lines. A monumental staircase in the centre of the arcade connects Piazza Grande and Praticino square.

The northern side houses the Teatro Vasariano, developing the idea of a cultural success that Vasari witnessed in Florence and that led to the birth of the Camerata de’ Bardi and the melodrama; this theatrical space was added between 1580 and 1586, after Vasari’s death. The theatre started its activity in 1596: the audience entered from Praticino square and the deans of the Fraternita dei Laici entered the theatre via a sheltered raised walkway.

Through the 17th century it was called the “Stazione”, big room, but it was the community theatre in the first decades of the 18th century, totally restored between 1740 and 1742 by the Florentine architect Alessandro Saller. It was called “New theatre” and, from 1743, “big theatre of the Fraternita”. In 1794 it became the “royal theatre”, in 1811 “imperial theatre”. Starting from 1824 it was renamed again, becoming the “Concordi theatre” and from 1836 to 1867 it was called “La Fenice”, the phoenix; after the completion of Petrarca theatre, in 1830s, the Vasari theatre was closed and turned into a Court of Assizes for the courthouse inside the Fraternita palace. The space is currently used for arts and cultural events.

In 1911, for the celebration of the fourth hundredth from the birth of Vasari, the sculptor Alessandro Lazzerini made a high-relief in marble, which is at the entrance of the building arriving from Corso Italia, that depicts Vasari with his work tools.

Nowadays, the whole Logge palace is the home of different activities, from restaurants to tourist information and from antique’s shops to contemporary art. A part of the building has become a high school and other parts are the home of the Flagthrowers and the Musicians of the Saracens’ Joust.

The museum of the Fraternita dei Laici keeps the scale model of the palace made of walnut that was presented by Vasari to the deans in 1572.

Giorgio Vasari, Logge Palace, Arezzo

Piazza Grande, on the right Logge Palace and on the left Palace of the Fraternita dei Laici e Pieve di Santa Maria, Arezzo

Giorgio Vasari, Logge Palace, Arezzo

Piazza Grande, Arezzo

Giostra del Saracino, Piazza Grande and Logge Vasari palace in the background, Arezzo

Landscape of Piazza Grande, oil on canvas (1780-90), Cristoforo di Donato Conti, Palace of the Fraternita dei Laici, Arezzo

Giorgio Vasari, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Giorgio Vasari, Uffizi Gallery and a part of the Corridoio Vasariano on the left, Florence