The endless wonder of il prato gardens

Going up along Corso Italia at the conquest of Il Prato gardens, you will be greeted by a large luminous gingerbread man who will seem to show you the direction to follow to reach your goal. 

After taking a selfie, continue your walk and, behind a curve, a large tree wrapped in snow-white lights and the majestic, Gothic Cathedral of Saints Stephen and Donatus will welcome you from the corner of the park. A true breathtaking view.

That’s why they call it The Garden of Wonder! Against the backdrop of a romantic Ferris wheel and the very high bell tower of the Cathedral, the gardens are dotted with the pretty wooden huts of a delightful Christmas Market, where spicy scents of cinnamon, chocolate and mulled wine linger in the air. 

Take a walk among the wooden huts and other Christmas attractions and you will reach the marble National Monument dedicated to the great poet Francesco Petrarca who was born right here, a few steps from the park, on 20th July 1304. This imposing monument full of allegories, dominated by the sculpture portraying Petrarch facing his birthplace, is the work of the artist Francesco Lazzerini and was inaugurated in the presence of King Vittorio Emanuele III, on 28th November 1928.

Behind the monument, a tree-lined path will accompany you to the entrance gate of the Medici Fortress, an admirable example of military architecture dating back to the sixteenth century with a pentagonal layout, built on the remains of the ancient Medieval citadel. Its strategic position, on the top of San Donato Hill makes it, today, an exceptional panoramic point over the city, the Pratomagno massif and the Alpe di Catenaia.

Once inside, you will visit the areas that recent restorations have brought to light, such as rooms, corridors, passages, wells, ancient city gates and ramparts. Considerably interesting is the fourteenth-century Gate of Sant’Angelo in Archaltis, incorporated into the sixteenth-century wall structures, as well as the remains of the ancient Church of San Donato in Cremona, dating back to the XI century; not to mention the remains of mosaic floors pertaining to an ancient Roman building.

Walking along the battlements, in addition to a breathtaking view, you will also admire its five ramparts (named Spina, Soccorso, Chiesa, Belvedere and Diacciaia) which, for centuries, have silently been watching over the city of Arezzo and its surrounding hills. 

 

All this is the The Garden of Wonder. A magical place where time seems to have stopped.

Photo di Lorenzo Carnevali