So you have seen the top cities in Italy such as Rome,Venice,Florence and Milan? Now it is the time to explore smaller, less known gems such as Arezzo in Tuscany on Italy Personalized Tours.
Located 80 km from Florence, Arezzo is often overlooked by tourists, despite the fact that it has all the attractions of a Tuscan city: art, historic palaces, beautiful squares, interesting festivals and great restaurants. The city’s origins date back to Etruscan times, when it was part of one of the most important Etruscan settlement. Although the old centre of the city was badly damaged during World War II, there are still many reminders of Arezzo’s glorious past.
The beautiful main square, Piazza Grande, is surrounded by medieval towers and splendid Renaissance palaces. Behind the modest exterior of Gothic Arezzo cathedral lie spectacular treasures: Piero della Francesca’s frescoes, medieval stained glass and a relief designed by Donatello. Another church that is well worth a visit is Basilica of San Francesco, which houses one of Italy’s most important pieces of Renaissance art – Piero della Francesca’s impressive murals cycle.
Art buffs will love Giorgio Vasari’s Renaissance home, Casa Vasari, with its opulent interior designed and decorated by the master himself. In the museum you can see letters hand written by Michelangelo, Pope Pius V and Cosimo I de’ Medici.
For stunning views climb the walls of the Medici Fortress built in the 16th century. Once a formidable five point structure, the citadel might not be as impressive today but you can still glimpse the city’s history dating to different periods.
In June and September, Arezzo hosts a fascinating festival called La Giostra del Saracino originating from military training exercises in the Middle Ages. This historic simulation of the war against the Arabs includes a costumed parade, equestrian competitions and various food events.
It is worth planning your visit to Arezzo on Italy Personalized Tours to coincide with the famous antiques market that takes place on the first weekend every month. 500 vendors set up their stalls on the city’s streets and squares attracting almost 30,000 bargain hunters in search of ancient coins, old clocks, vintage china and other unique items.
Photos via Flickr by: David Nicholls, Luca Deravignone.