Discovering Arezzo’s Etruscan-Roman history

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If stones could speak, they’d tell the story of Arezzo, a place older than Constantinople and Alexandria in Egypt. This millennial city owes much of its glory to the mysterious Etruscans who left many important testaments that tell us a lot about ancient Arezzo.

At that time, Arezzo was already known as the city of gold. The Etruscans molded the precious metal in their own unique way using filigree techniques that are still unknown today. The Etruscans were masters of the arts and sciences and were famous as potters and architects. The Archeological Museum Gaio Cilnio Mecenate has a vast collection of Etruscan pottery and remnants from the Estruscan-Roman eras in Arezzo. This museum is located in the heart of the city, right next to the Roman amphitheater

At the museum you’ll see the black “Buccheri” and the Coral Vessels which made Arezzo famous all over the ancient world. You’ll be fascinated by the iconic Euphronius Crater with its Chimera, a mythological animal that became the symbol of Etruscan Arezzo. After the visit to the museum and amphitheater, it’s time to venture through the streets of the historic center. 

In the lower part of the Corso Italia street, you can see a small remnant of the Roman foundations of the city. Walking into the main branch of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank, you’ll find a display of ancient pavement stones that have been exposed and illuminated for better viewing. This small glimpse gives you an idea of life at that time and the visit is free and accessible for everyone. 

Moving up the Corso Italia street, you’ll cross Via Cavour and end up in the Piazza San Francesco. This square has the Basilica which houses the fresco cycle called The Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca. The Crucifix by Cimabue is also located here. At the base of this masterpiece, there is a secret, intriguing place. The lower part of the churchyard of Basilica of San Francesco is a unique site that reveals much about the history of the city. The roots of Arezzo are found at the base of this sacred space, with traces of the Etruscan-Roman city that have been brought to life thanks to the work of volunteers and patrons of the arts. The site can be visited by appointment only. 

Heading further up Corso Italia street, you come to the “Palazzo Lambardi.” In the interior area of this building, you can see remnants of the old Roman pavement that adorned this villa. The  mosaic contains dolphins, ducks and other aquatic animals that embellished the bath area of this home. The building is private but visitors can come in and see the mosaics for free. 

The next stop is the “Prato” of Arezzo. This park is located near the Medici Fortress and there are numerous remnants of the Etruscan city and the Roman Forum that were located there. Passing through this archeological, panoramic area, you walk downhill through the streets of the “Colcitrone” district of Arezzo. In this area, there are many stones and columns from the Roman era, some of which were recycled for use in the city walls during the Middle Ages. Other Roman remnants are visible in Via Buozzi street and Vicolo delle Terme alleyway that leads to the “Piaggia” and Church of Saint Lawrence. This is the spot where the wonderful statue of the Minerva was found. It’s now housed in the National Archeological Museum of Florence. 

Finally, the more daring will be able, through another dedicated itinerary, to reach one of the places of the Etruscan Arezzo: the Archaeological Site of Castelsecco.

This is an itinerary for anyone who loves archeology and learning about the peoples of the past. It’s the perfect way to learn about where we’ve come from as you step back in time and let yourself become fascinated by ancient Arezzo. 

  • For lovers of history and art
  • For those who love archeology
  • For those who are curious
  • For treasure hunters
  • For those who like to travel alone or with others
  • For the whole family
  • For those who love to walk, even uphill
  • Curiosity
  • Comfortable shoes
  • A camera to capture the perfect detail
Palazzo Lambardi

Fortezza Medicea

Vicolo delle Terme

Chiesa di San Lorenzo

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