What to see in Arezzo in two days

If you decided to visit Arezzo in two days, you have to choose from the many attractions that this city offers you. The old city centre and the four valleys are home to art, history, food and wine and fantastic traditions. Here are some tips.

Basilica of Saint Francis: first steps in the heart of the city

Your tour can start from Saint Francis square. Imagine the scene. You are in the old city centre, more or less halfway up the ascent that takes you to the top of the hill on which the city stands. You just got here and you are looking for something that will blow your mind. Instinct has guided you to the right place because this square is a perfect showcase of the art of Arezzo.

A masterpiece by Piero della Francesca awaits you here. Walk down the single nave to the end, where there is the Bacci Chapel. Here the Renaissance artist painted the cycle of frescoes of the Legend of the True Cross. With three rows of images the Tuscan painter tells you the story of the wood that was used for the cross of Christ.

The Legend of the True Cross is an excellent example of narrative art. Admiring it you will feel transported to a dimension where symbology, balance and geometries give life to an incomparable result.

 

The Legend of the True Cross

The Pieve of Santa Maria Assunta, stones with timeless charm

From Via Cavour turn left into Corso Italia. You will recognize the Pieve of Santa Maria Assunta from the facade with three rows of different columns and the bell tower called “hundred holes”. A prospect that will drag you inside with the bait of curiosity.

Inside you will be welcomed by a charming atmosphere, solemn but not overwhelming. In this architecture of Medieval origin predominates the stone without decorations. Under the raised presbytery you will change levels, walking down into the crypt.Behind the altar, the silver bust reliquary of Saint Donato, the patron saint of Arezzo. Leave the church for a final surprise: on the back, admire the semicircular apse embellished with blind arcades and columns.

 

Pieve
Pieve of Santa Maria Assunta

Piazza Grande and its wonders

Without almost noticing you arrived in Piazza Grande. Market place until the ’60s, then exceptional stage of the Antique Fair. Twice a year, in June and September, the Saracino Joust takes place here. Piazza Grande is really an unmissable destination.

The treasures to discover along its inclined perimeter are many, the Medieval towers, the Loggia Vasari, the Palace of the Fraternita of the Laici. The latter building houses an astronomical clock of the Sixteenth century still working and an interesting museum.

If the overall look on Piazza Grande makes you think of the cinema, you are not making a mistake. Here, as in other parts of Arezzo, were filmed some scenes of the movieLife is Beautiful, winner of three Academy Awards.

Arezzo “downhill”: the lower part of the old city centre

You are about to cross the city along its main street, Corso Italia. You can go shopping or just enjoy the zigzag between the streets and alleys of the surroundings. They are full of boutiques, craft shops, bars and intriguing shop windows. A light entertainment and then resume your visit with three “gems” of Arezzo, located in the lower part of the old city centre.

 

At Piazza San Jacopo, from Corso Italia take Via Anfiteatro. Shortly thereafter you will dive into the Etruscan and Roman Arezzo. The National Archaeological Museum, named after the famous Mecenate from Arezzo, preserves an incredible heritage of finds that can be traced back to these civilizations of the past.

Next go to the Roman Amphitheatre, an archaeological site of Roman times built in the second century A.D. Do you know that it is almost as big as the Colosseum? Its imposing size tells you about the ancient splendor of Arezzo. Today, especially in summer, events and concerts are held here.

Now let yourself be guided beyond the ancient perimeter of the city walls (a possible combination is viale Michelangelo and then vialeMecenate). Starting from the Bastions of Porta Santo Spirito, in about twenty minutesyou can walk to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie

After the arch of the portal you have access to the lawn surrounding the structure. Before your eyes there is the sanctuary, introduced by a short staircase and an airy and elegant loggia, designed by the architect Benedetto da Maiano.

Study it in all its Renaissance style details. It is amazing, isn’t it? Inside the church you will also find the Madonna della Misericordia by Parri di Spinello, inserted in an altar made by the workshop of the artist Andrea della Robbia.

 

The Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie

Splendor among  cinema, art and poetry

In the movie Life is Beautiful, you can see somebeautiful views of the old city centre. How about dedicating the second day of your visit to Arezzo to an exciting urban excursion in search of the places of the movie by Roberto Benigni?

If you prefer the artists of the past, remember that the territory of Arezzo gave birth to many famous people. And speaking of “celebrities,” do not forget you are in the town of Francesco Petrarca. This giant of Italian literature has come to light in the building that is now in Via dell’Orto, where there is also a museum. Casa Petrarca has, among the various collectibles, objects and materials related to the great poet and a rich library.

That is not the only illustrious residence which can open its doors. In the Museum Casa Vasari you will learn more about the figure of its famous former owner. He is Giorgio Vasari, architect, painter and biographer of artists. The Museum Casa Vasari will amaze you with beautifully painted spaces, an itinerary made of charming rooms and a garden in which harmony and quiet will offer you a delicious stop.

 

The Final Trio

Last only in order of time, three amazing places close the list of advice on what not to miss in Arezzo in two days. The Basilica of San Domenico is really a stone’s throw from the Museum Casa Vasari. The facade is asymmetrical and has a bit of the unknown.

In its sober interior, spirituality blends with the beauty of the wooden Crucifix by Cimabue that this church has guarded for almost 8 centuries. The Christ on the Cross of the Florentine painter is the emblem of an epochal turning point in the history of art. The suffering and humanity of the figure of Jesus are the characteristics that make the work unique in the world.

You cannot miss the doors of the Cathedral, an imposing building that stands out against the city’s skyline. Visit the Cathedral and the works of art it preserves. Different techniques, colors and materials contribute to its majesty and adorn its centuries-old history. It is impossible to describe in short what you will see in the Cathedral of Arezzo. Know that you could come out pleasantly stunned.

If your weekend in the city is running out, treat yourself to a walk under the canopy of maritime pines in the park Il Prato. You cannot go wrong: it is the green area on the side of the Cathedral. In the centre, in the middle of the grass, stands a large white monument dedicated to Petrarca.

The Prato is the antechamber to the Medicean Fortress. From above the ancient and imposing walls you can enjoy an exclusive view of the surroundings of the centre. A view that will be your farewell to Arezzo. At least until next time.