It is the symbol of Arezzo, the most important and most beautiful square in the city. It is the place where the Antique fair and the Saracino Joust are held; Piazza Grande makes all fall in love. It opens to the right of Corso Italia in the heart of Arezzo.
Its inclined trapezoid shape, an essential aspect of its charm, was chosen to facilitate the outflow of rainwater and prevent flooding in the city. From Platea porcorum where the cattle market was held to Platea Communis, itsuse as a square dates back to the Thirteenth century.
Then came the Sixteenth century and the Florentine domination. Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, wanted to modernize the upper part of Arezzo. So Giorgio Vasari, an artist and architect from Arezzo, added to Piazza Grande the wonderful loggia that adorns it on the Northern side. Under the Vasari Loggia, restaurants and clubs have replaced the artisan shops of the past.
A frame of Medieval towers and beautiful buildings runs around Piazza Grande. There is the Palace of the Fraternita dei Laici, headquarters of an ancient charity institution and a museum. Its bell tower and the left part of the building were also designed by Vasari.Also the apse of the wonderful Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta overlooks the square.
Twice a year the Saracino Joust fills this place with magic. The banners of the flag-wavers color the sky, drum rolls and claps of light resound in the air. From the well of Piazza Grande the knights of the four districts of Arezzo leave in career launches in remnant to challenge the Buratto King of the Indies. In the shade of the Vasari Loggia and on the red and white floor of the square, every month the city becomes the capital of antiques.Since 1968, here and in the streets of the old city centre, there is an appointment with sellers and enthusiasts on the occasion of the Antique Fair.
Past and present of Arezzo meet in Piazza Grande in a concentration of history and beauty unique in the world.
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