Guide to Arezzo, Italy: discovering the Tuscan city

Arezzo, Italy. Sights, description, map, what to see in 1 day

Arezzo is a city of art with an ancient history, located in the eastern part of Tuscany, Italy, famous for its attractions.

The significance of the city in the modern world

Of all the cities in Tuscany, Arezzo is the furthest from the sea. Its ancient origins are confirmed by stone tools found during excavations in the area and attributed to the Paleolithic era.

The first Etruscan settlement was formed on the site where the oldest part of the town is situated now. It is dated around the 6th century B.C. The town’s original name Aritim was of Etruscan origin, later transformed into Arretium by the Romans. The city is the center of a province of the same name, 80 km south of Florence.

Perched on a hilltop, Arezzo overlooks the intersection of four valleys:

  • Val Tiberina;
  • Casetino;
  • Valdarno
  • Valdichiana.

The city is bordered by the provinces:

  • Forlì-Cesena;
  • Florence;
  • Siena;
  • Perugia;
  • Pesaro;
  • Urbino.

Distinctive features of the city

The climate of Arezzo and its surroundings can be defined as typical of hilly Tuscany – moderately warm. The average annual rainfall is 744 mm, much higher than the Italian average for the continental part of the country. The average annual temperature is about 12 degrees.

Arezzo, Italy. Attractions, description, map, what to see in 1 day

Located practically in the center of the “Italian boot,” Arezzo is not affected by the sea, located at an altitude of 290 m above sea level. The absence of any major industries in the city and its surroundings contribute to a good environmental situation.

It is thanks to these climatic conditions that grapes, olive trees and cereals are actively cultivated. The population is approximately 100,000 people. Ethnically it is predominantly Italian.

How to get there

Arezzo (Italy), the attractions of which remain very attractive today, will be remembered as a city of goldsmiths. You can get here by train from Florence. The trip will take you about an hour.

The train runs at intervals of 20 minutes to an hour during the day depending on the day of the week and peak traffic. The cost of the trip will be about 30 euros one way. In the city itself, trains arrive and depart from the central station located in Piazza del Repubblica.

From Siena to Arezzo you can only get by bus, since there is no direct train service. Bus transport runs from Monday to Saturday 7 times a day. The trip takes 2 hours and costs 7 euros.

From Rome, the best way to get by car is to go north on the A1 road, the turn to Arezzo is clearly marked along this route. Car rental in Italy is well developed and offers 6-10 euros per day.

Transport

Arezzo, Italy. Attractions, description, map, what to see in 1 day

The city transport infrastructure is mainly represented by buses. They connect remote areas of residential developments with the central part. A local one-way ticket costs 2.5 euros.

Cab for a short distance costs 15 euros, medium distance – 21 euros. Long-distance travel by this transport will cost on average about 42 euros.

Main sights

The symbol of Etruscan Arezzo to this day remains a bronze statue of the Chimera, found centuries ago in 1553 during the fortification of the city’s defensive walls during the period of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Arezzo, Italy. Attractions, description, map, what to see in 1 day

By order of Cosimo I de’ Medici, the statue was immediately taken to Florence, where it is still preserved in the Archaeological Museum.

For visitors to Arezzo its identical copy is on display in the gardens opposite the railway station. Another one, only smaller, is inside the Porta di San Laurentino, because that is where it was discovered.

Arezzo, Italy, whose attractions despite the profound architectural changes of the Renaissance period and the pleasant combination of architectural styles that make up Piazza Vasari, is constantly reminded of the Middle Ages when looking around the historic center.

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The architectural monuments of Italy are represented by works of a religious nature. This city is no exception in this regard.

Arezzo, Italy. Attractions, description, map, what to see in 1 day

  • Basilica di San Domenico, which has a simple and austere interior with numerous frescoes on the walls and over the altar, a beautiful and painted cross of Simabu, attracts thousands of tourists every year from all over the world.
  • In Arezzo, the attractions of the Basilica of San Francesco are no less popular compared to similar works in other parts of the country. Built in the Tuscan Gothic style, it is home to Pierro della Francesca’s famous cycle of frescoes illustrating “The Legend of the True Cross.” They are remarkable for their elegance, dramatic lighting effects, properly chosen colors, and ascetic austerity. Sir Kenneth Clarke called these frescoes “the most perfect morning light of the entire Renaissance.” The frescoes depict the burial of Adam, Constantine’s dream of the descent of an angel, Solomon’s acceptance of the Queen of Sheba in his court, and other subjects.

Because of the worldwide interest in these works, it is necessary to reserve a time to visit the basilica in advance, as only 20 visitors are allowed inside every half hour. A half-hour visit costs 6 euros.

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Arezzo, Italy. Attractions, description, map, what to see in 1 day

  • At the top of the city hill is the main cathedral, Duomo Duomo, built in a totally Gothic style at the end of the 13th century. The last work on the facade was completed just before the outbreak of World War I. Its main treasure is an image of Mary Magdalene, belonging to the hand of Piero della Francesca. The cathedral is open daily. Admission is free.
  • For history lovers, the Museum of Modern and Medieval Art is open in the city . Those interested in archaeology can visit the Archaeological Museum, which is ideally located near the remains of the Roman amphitheater.
  • Casa Vasari was bought by the artist in 1540. Vasari’s own works are kept there, but it is obvious that the fame of this artist is based more on his life than on his actual works. Giorgio Vasari is better known as a talented architect and a brilliant art historian. His former home has been preserved as a museum. His painted Room of the Triumph of Virtue gives a glimpse into the humanistic interests of the Renaissance. Vasari’s book, Lives of the Artists, is still the best source of criticism and scandalous rumors about the great names of Italian art history.
  • Casa di Petrarca is a short walk from Santa Maria della Pieve. It was completely restored after the Second World War. Petrarch was a great Italian lyric poet and humanist who sang in his unique sonnets of any one woman. The house displays books, prints, sketches and even some interior furnishings from Petrarch’s time. Admission to the house is free (you just have to call to get in).

Shopping

Arezzo is famous for its well-developed jewelry industry, one of the largest in Europe. In the city center, around Piazza Grande, there are dozens of antique and jewelry stores that sell these amazing pieces.

If you visit the city on the first Saturday and Sunday of the month, you can get to the street antiques market. Thirty years ago, Italian antiques expert Ivan Bruschi started this tradition.

Since then, a small town attracts a huge number of connoisseurs and connoisseurs of antique things in these 2 days. More than 500 stalls and kiosks can be found all over Piazza San Francesco, including Piazza Vasari.

Active Recreation

Arezzo, Italy. Attractions, description, map, what to see in 1 day

Arezzo in Italy is located far from the sea. This sets up tourists mainly to visit historical sites and attractions. The hilly terrain allows nature lovers to hike around the city.

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For a vacation in the midst of the green valley and amongst the flowers and herbs that grow in the hills of Arezzo, there are many villas to choose from. The prices per night depend on the size and location of the villa.

Interesting places to stay with children

An ideal place to vacation in Tuscany with children is a farmhouse. Rural house with a plot of land for several families has recently become very popular in Italy. Walks and hikes with pet donkeys are wonderful adventures for children, who, while having fun, learn to appreciate the slow rhythms.

For a few days you can immerse yourself in the measuredness of rural life and feel like a real farmer. Children learn to take care of their pets and observe nature.

Arezzo, Italy. Attractions, description, map, what to see in 1 day

The family-run farmhouse Hotel Hermagnano Sansepolcro, 45 km from Arezzo, opens its hospitable doors to those who love such a holiday. It is located in the nature reserve of Alpe della Luna, 900 meters above sea level. From here there is a beautiful view of the Tuscan Appenine Mountains.

Children can run freely in the park, where there is a reading corner and sandpits. Self-catering apartments are available for accommodation. The cost is 90 euros for two people per night.

Excursions

For tourists staying for a while in Arezzo itself, several excursions to neighboring towns can be realized:

Arezzo, Italy. Attractions, description, map, what to see in 1 day

  • Admirers of the artist Piero della Francesca can make a pilgrimage to Sansepolcro on the border of Umbria. The city’s Civico Museum displays Piero’s painting of the Resurrection, full of allegories and showing the most famous sleeping soldiers in history. The painting is so important to the city that anyone can see it for free through the open window on the street. You can get to the place by bus. Travel time is about an hour, the cost will be from 3-6 euros per person one way. A cab will cost about 65 euros.
  • Fans of haute couture can visit the mall in Valdarno. It is a popular place for brands like Gucci, Prada, Armani, Ferragamo. Prices for the top brands are still quite high, but seasonal discounts on last year’s stock are huge. From the central train station in Arezzo you can get by train for 6 euros or by bus for 5 euros one way. The travel time by train is 40 minutes, the bus is an hour and a half.
  • Nature lovers are recommended to go to the wonderful national park of Cazentino, where you can wander for hours in the chestnut woods, visit Poppi Castle, Arno Spring and the French temple in La Verne. There are several ways to get to this protected corner of Tuscany, but the easiest way is to rent a car. Travel time will be about 50 minutes.

Routes to see the city on your own

Arezzo (Italy), whose attractions attract tourists from all over the world, offers a well-organized urban infrastructure to serve guests. Travelers arriving by train or bus begin their acquaintance with the city from the foot of the hill where the station is located.

Arezzo, Italy. Attractions, description, map, what to see in 1 day

Climbing up the hill, one must follow the main street to Piazza Guido Monaco. It is a very open and bright square, attracting many people during the day. There are bars on the right where you can buy refreshments and fine cappuccinos. The average cost is: a bottle of water €1.5, a cup of coffee €2.5.

Continuing on a slight slope, you can reach Piazza San Francesco, where the church of San Francesco is located. Here is also the oldest Caffe dei Costanti, opened in 1809.

If you turn on Via Cavour and move towards San Lorenzo, this street leads directly to the Museum of Modern and Medieval Art. The nearby Via XX Settembrè finds the Casa Vasari, one of the most important historical figures connected to Arezzo. His dwelling is the real proof of the undeniable talents of this man.

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The next closest historical site is the Church of San Domingo, located in a rather enclosed square. Here you can still observe the remains of an ancient well formerly used by the city.

Then, continue along Via Madonna Laura to the Cathedral, which is located on the right, on the left will be the Piazza Grande. The road down the hill towards the train station takes you through the shopping streets with many souvenir shops.

Hotels

There are a great number of hotels in the city in various price ranges.

The hotels that are further away from the center of town are

Arezzo, Italy. Attractions, description, map, what to see in 1 day

Hotel Arezzo by Marriott is a four star hotel. Standard room per night costs 70-90 euros. The price depends on the tourist season. The room rate includes free Wi-Fi, a good breakfast buffet. The restaurant serves Italian and European dishes.

To get to the hotel from the Central Station you can take bus number 9 to Via Giovan Battista Vico, then walk 450 m. Address: Einstein 4, 52100 Arezzo.

Etrusco Arezzo Hotel. Situated a few tens of meters from the previous hotel, this one is in the same price category. The modern building is 100m from the Arezzo Exhibition Centre.

All rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with a minibar. Free public parking is available on site. Breakfast is included. The administration allows guests with pets.

The bus number 9 will take guests to the hotel, the way on foot from the same stop as for the first hotel will already be much shorter – about 90 m. Address: Via A. Fleming 39, 52100 Arezzo.

Centrally located hotels

Arezzo, Italy. Attractions, description, map, what to see in 1 day

Antiche Mura. A 5 star hotel housed in a historic building of medieval construction of the XIII century. The rooms, each with wooden beams on the ceiling, are individually decorated. In the decoration of the public areas, the original stylistics of the Tuscan way of life have been preserved. The hotel is 50 m away from the Cathedral.

The price for the room reaches 120 euros per night. From the train station you can walk along Via Guido Monaco, a distance of 1 km, easily overcome in 30 minutes. Address: Piaggia Di Murello 33, 52100 Arezzo

What to take as a souvenir

At the top of the list of souvenirs from Tuscany is of course the wine. The entire region produces excellent wines, both red and white. Many of them are rarely shipped abroad. Large and small producers work very hard to give life to some of the best wines in the world. A bottle or two is a perfect souvenir for friends and relatives. The price is on average 11 euros.

Most often tourists buy jewelry made by local craftsmen from white gold, silver and melchior. Stores offer budget versions of products by modern masters for 50 euros. Silver jewelry can be purchased for 25 euros.

Ceramics in Tuscany has a long tradition. These souvenirs are quite delicate, but a tray, tea or coffee set will last a lifetime, will remind you of the beautiful moments spent in Italy.

There are a lot of shops of artisans located among the sights of Arezzo. The price policy is very diverse, you can choose for any purse and taste.

Arezzo

Arezzo (Italy) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Arezzo with descriptions, travel guides and maps.

City of Arezzo (Italy)

Arezzo is a city in Central Italy in the region of Tuscany. It is located on a hilly plain at the head of the Arno River and is the capital of the province of the same name. Arezzo is one of the oldest cities in the country, older than, for example, Egyptian Alexandria. It is one of the largest and most important settlements of the Etruscans, which has not lost its importance under the Romans, the birthplace of Petrarch and the workshop of Vasari, the city of poets and a place where the arts have always flourished.

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What to do (Italy):

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Geography and climate

Arezzo is located 80 km southeast of Florence, in the northern part of the Val di Chiana (a hilly plain extending into Tuscany and Umbria). The city is located in the upper reaches of the River Arno.

Its climate is subtropical. It has pronounced continental features which are typical for all of Tuscany. Summers are hot and dry and winters are quite warm with occasional subzero temperatures and an irregular snow cover.

Panorama of Arezzo

Arezzo Panorama

Tourist information

  1. Population – 99.5 thousand people.
  2. Area – 384.7 square kilometers.
  3. Language: Italian.
  4. Currency – euro.
  5. Visa – Schengen.
  6. Time – Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.

History

Arezzo is one of the oldest cities in Tuscany. The first settlement here was founded by the Etruscans in the 6th century BC. It was the first settlement founded here by the Etruscans in the 6th century BCE. Arezzo reached a considerable prosperity during the Etruscan period, until in 301 B.C. it was conquered by the Romans. The center of the city was badly destroyed and most of the inhabitants were evicted.

During the Roman Empire, the importance of Arezzo not only did not decline, but continued to grow. In the 1st century A.D. there were about 100 thousand people, and the city was the third most populous in Italy (after Rome and Naples). In the 2nd century, the Romans built an amphitheater.

After the fall of the Roman Empire and as a result of the invasion of the barbarians, the city’s population decreased significantly. But thanks to its advantageous location Arezzo played an important role in the early Middle Ages. In the 5th and 6th centuries the city was on the border of the kingdom of the Ostrogoths and the Byzantine possessions. In the 8th century it became part of the kingdom of the Franks, and in the 10th century, a part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Arezzo

Arezzo

By the beginning of the 12th century Arezzo had in fact gained independence. The city was ruled by a bishop and a comune. Soon the Republic of Arezzo was formed, which reached its peak in the 13th century. In 1255 the university, one of the oldest in Europe, was founded here. During the period of confrontation between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, Arezzo supported the latter. By the end of the 13th century the Guelphs ruled almost all of Tuscany. In 1289 a major battle took place at Campaldino, during which the Arezzo army was defeated and their leaders were killed. From that time the importance of the city began to decline.

In 1384 Arezzo became part of Tuscany. Despite its wide rights, the city’s importance began to steadily decline. Interestingly, this was not the case with culture and the arts. During the Renaissance, famous scientists, artists, and architects worked here. During the Napoleonic wars Arezzo became one of the main centers of opposition. During World War II the city was severely damaged by bombing.

Panorama of Arezzo

Arezzo Panorama

How to get there

The nearest airports are in Pisa and Florence, but you can also use the airports in Rome and Milan. Arezzo train station is located on the edge of the historic center and has regular connections to Rome and Florence.

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Shopping

There are quite a few stores in Arezzo’s old town, including those with clothes and shoes of famous brands. Every first Sunday of the month on Piazza Grande there is a large flea market that attracts tens of thousands of people.

Antiques Market

Antiques Market

Arezzo is famous for its cuisine: acquacotta soup of porcini mushrooms and bread, Ribollita soup of bread and vegetables, Florentine steak and pasta. All this is accompanied by a good glass of Arentino wine.

Attractions

Piazza Grande

Piazza Grande

Piazza Grande or Great Square is the heart of Arezzo, a beautiful medieval square surrounded by historic buildings. The northern side is occupied by the palazzo delle Logge, a Vasari palace with an elegant colonnade. On the west corner is Santa Maria della Pieve and a 14th century palace with a beautiful Gothic façade. The bell tower was added by Giorgio Vasari in the 16th century. It has one of the oldest Italian clocks still in operation.

Pieve di Santa Maria

Pieve di Santa Maria

The Pieve di Santa Maria is the oldest surviving church in the city and the most important Romanesque building. The modern church was built in the 13th century on the site of an older but ruined building. The religious structure was rebuilt in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The church has an interesting façade, austere interior and an ancient crypt. On the right is a bell tower 60 meters high with five rows of double windows.

Duomo

Duomo

The Duomo is a cathedral with a seven-century history. Known for its exceptional 14th century French stained glass windows by Guillaume de Marzill. Also in the cathedral is the tomb of the 14th Pope Gregory X. On the high altar is a late Gothic tomb and the relics of St. Donatus, Bishop of Arezzo, who was martyred during the time of Diocletian, the sacristy has beautiful frescoes and the old sacristy contains priceless paintings, an 11th-century Romanesque cross and a 15th-century Flemish sail.

San Domenico

San Domenico

San Domenico is one of Arezzo’s most impressive churches, built in the 13th century. The building is believed to have been designed by Pisano. The church has an original medieval bell tower with two 14th century bells. Inside are beautiful 14th and 15th century frescoes, a 14th century Gothic tabernacle by Giovanni di Francesco and a 13th century Simabue crucifix.

San Francesco

San Francesco

San Francesco is a medieval church founded in the 13th century. The chapels on the left side were added in the 15th century. Above the door is a round window by Guillaume de Marzilla. The church is famous for its famous frescoes, which are some of the most expressive works in all Italian painting.

Casa Vasari

Casa Vasari

Vasari’s house is the home of the famous architect with a series of beautiful frescoes. It was bought by him in 1540. The archive contains letters by Michelangelo and Pope Pius V.

Palazzo Pretorio

Palazzo Pretorio

The Pretorio Palace is a beautiful historical building with many coats of arms and bas-reliefs on the façade. The building was built in 1322 and rebuilt in the 17th century. From 1404 to 1926, the palazzo served as a prison. Now a library is situated within its walls.

Roman Amphitheater in Arezzo

Roman Amphitheatre in Arezzo

Arezzo Museum:

  • An archaeological museum built on the ruins of a Roman amphitheater. Exhibits include pieces from the 2nd century.
  • Museum of Medieval and Modern Art: An extensive collection of ancient weapons, paintings and pottery. The museum is located in a building with an interesting courtyard and staircase.

Interesting tours

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Trace the city’s path from Antiquity to modern appearance and learn about the inhabitants of the past and present

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