Arezzo: The Enchanting Medieval City!
The charming city of Arezzo in Italy is a true travel highlight in Tuscany. Famous as a ceramic and metal city, it fascinates above all with its enchanting old town, which spreads a large portion of medieval flair. In addition, you will discover a multitude of interesting attractions during a city tour through Arezzo. Especially impressive is the sloping Piazza Grande, a breathtakingly beautiful main square and a popular photo motif of the city. Worth seeing are also the countless museums and churches, where art treasures and masterpieces of famous artists like Piero della Francesca or Giorgio Vasari can be admired.
In this travel guide you will find all the important information about Arezzo in Italy. We show you the most beautiful things to do, the best pictures and where to find recommendable accommodations.
General information about Arezzo
Arezzo is a city of about 100,000 inhabitants in east Tuscany and is considered to be one of the most prosperous cities in the region. It has always been famous for its handicrafts and jewelry making, which are still important economic sectors today. Around ten tons of gold are processed in Arezzo every month and the world-famous Aretine vases and the Terra Sigillata tableware are also made here.
The history of Arezzo dates back to the Etruscan era. At that time, the city was a member of the Twelve Cities Federation, as was Volterra for example. It was also located on the strategically important ancient Via Cassia, a Roman road that led from Rome to Tuscany. In the 4th century AD the city became a bishop’s see. Arezzo had long been loyal to the emperor and continued to be so until the 14th century. Later it was under Florentine rule and the Medici let the city fall into disrepair.
Things to do in Arezzo
There are countless interesting things to do in Arezzo. The main attraction is the beautiful historical city center with Piazza Grande, the many splendid patrician houses and churches. Here is a summary of the most beautiful places to visit at a glance:
One of the most beautiful attractions in Arezzo is the impressive Piazza Grande in the center of the historic old town. What is interesting here is that this square was built on a sloping, trapezoidal surface. Incredibly beautiful are also the many historical buildings from different eras, which give Piazza Grande an extraordinary flair. Worth seeing are also Torre Faggiolana, a tower crowned with battlements, the palace of the lay brotherhood, the Renaissance arcades and the church of Santa Maria della Pieve.
Unique are also the fantastic restaurants and cafés in Piazza Grande, where you can enjoy a glass of wine and fabulous music in an incredibly beautiful atmosphere.
Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici
Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici, the so-called Palace of the Lay Fraternity, is one of the most important historical buildings in Arezzo. It was founded in 1263 to provide charitable assistance to the poor of the city. Situated in the main square Piazza Grande, it has a beautiful façade and an interesting clock tower.
Inside, there is a small museum with countless works of art and an astronomical clock as its centerpiece. The visit to the upper floor is also unique, from where you can enjoy a wonderful view over the roofs of Arezzo.
Entrance Fee: 5 Euros per person | Opening Hours: daily from 10:30 to 18:00
Arcades Palazzo delle Logge
Also great to see in Arezzo are the Renaissance arcades of Palazzo delle Logge, which are located on the front of Piazza Grande. This long portico was created by the famous architect Giorgio Vasari, and is still one of the most beautiful jewels of the old town. In the past, workshops were housed here, but today there are lovely cafés and very good restaurants below this loggia, which are ideal for a harmonious sightseeing break.
Santa Maria della Pieve
The Church of Santa Maria della Pieve is the oldest church in the city and also one of the most important places to visit in Arezzo. This attraction is also located right in the center of the city, on Piazza Grande. It was built in the 12th century and is particularly impressive with its fascinating façade in several styles. Also worth seeing is the so-called “tower with a hundred holes”, the bell tower of Santa Maria della Pieve, which has been provided with innumerable windows.
However, the most essential attractions of this church are to be found in its splendid interior. Here you can admire valuable art works, especially Pietro Lorenzetti’s panel painting “Madonna and Saints”, which was created in 1320.
Entrance Fee: free of charge | Opening Hours: 8:00-12:30 & 15:00-18:00
Cathedral of Arezzo
One of the most beautiful attractions in Arezzo is the Cathedral of Santi Pietro e Donato, or simply known as the Cathedral of Arezzo. This church is located on the highest point of the city and is a gothic building with a rather simple exterior façade. Those interested in art should definitely also take a look at the interior of this church. Highlights are the beautiful stained-glass windows of the cathedral, which were created by the French glass painter Guillaume de Marcillat. Further attractions are the small fresco Maria Maddalena by Piero della Francesca and the terracottas by Andrea della Robbia.
Entrance Fee: free of charge | Opening Hours: 6:30-12:30 & 15:00-19:00
Medici fortress and City walls
The Medici Fortress, also known as Fortezza Medicea, was built between 1538 and 1560 by order of Cosimo I de’ Medici. It is located on the hilltop of the city and can be visited free of charge. Walking along the walls, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the beautiful surroundings of Arezzo. Furthermore, in the center of the castle, you can visit some archaeological findings from the Roman period.
Another highlight is the art exhibition, which is located in the interior of the fortress. Here you can discover various modern art works, some of them with bizarre figures and mystical statues.
Entrance Fee: free of charge | Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 10:00-14:00 & 15:00-19:00
San Francesco Church
The church of San Francesco is probably the most important church in Arezzo. From the outside it is a very simple Gothic building, a typical example of a simple mendicant church. However, this place is really interesting on the inside! Here you can admire the famous frescoes by Piero della Francesca from the 15th century. They tell the legend of the True Cross, a cycle of frescoes located behind the main altar. Today, outside the times of worship, you can visit this church as a museum.
Entrance Fee: 8 Euros | Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00-18:00
Palazzo Dei Priori
A stroll through Arezzo reveals a multitude of fascinating city palaces. Especially Palazzo dei Priori from the 14th century is worth seeing. It is located on Piazza della Liberta, diagonally opposite the cathedral. Since the late Middle Ages, this palace has been the highest jurisdiction of the city, and today it is still the municipal seat. Interesting also from the inside, visitors can admire numerous works of art in the small museum, such as paintings by Giorgio Vasaris, frescoes and statues.
A real highlight, especially for art lovers, is the Vasari House in Arezzo. The so-called Casa Vasari was purchased in 1511 by Giorgio Vasari, a famous painter, architect and sculptor. From 1542 to 1548 it was renovated with the help of his students and frescoes and tempera were added. Today, Casa Vasari is one of the most important museums in the city. During a tour of the beautiful rooms, you can also admire a collection of about 50 paintings from the 16th century.
Entrance Fee: 5 Euros | Opening Hours: Wednesday to Monday, from 8:30-12:30
During a city walk through Arezzo, a short stop in front of the Palazzo Pretorio is a must. It was built in the 13th century and was later used as a prison from 1600 onwards. Fascinating and unique here is the outer façade, which was decorated with countless coats of arms of the Podestà, i.e. the mayors of the city, who were active in Arezzo from the first half of the 15th century.
Roman Amphitheater & Archaeological Museum
Another important place to visit in Arezzo is the Roman amphitheater and the adjacent Archaeological Museum. This Colosseum was built by the Romans in the 1st century A.D. The building, made of sandstone and bricks, could once accommodate 8,000 to 10,000 people. Right next to it, in the former Olivetan monastery, is the Archaeological Museum of Arezzo. Especially those interested in history appreciate the comprehensive exhibition from the Etruscan and Roman times.
Porta San Lorentino
The Porta San Lorentino is the most beautiful of the four city gates and leads directly into the historical center of Arezzo. It was dedicated to San Lorentino, the protector of the Porta del Foro district. The bronze chimera in the middle passageway is particularly impressive. Of course, this is not the valuable original from 1553, which is now exhibited in the Uffizi in Florence.
Where to stay in Arezzo
In Arezzo, both in the historical center and in the surrounding area, there is a wide range of beautiful accommodations. From the well-kept wineries, Agriturismos with pool, pensions and apartments, here you can find everything. Here are our recommendations for the best accommodations in Arezzo…It’s worth a look!
- Apartments with Pool: The apartments of Villa Ghiandai are situated in a very quiet area with a great view over Arezzo. The pool is also fantastic here in order to cool off on hot days.
- B&B: The BioBenessere is a really nice B&B, lovingly furnished and with delicious breakfast. The roof terrace is also wonderful here, where you can relax and enjoy your meals.
- Agriturismo with Pool: The Podere Fontanino is a beautiful accommodation in the countryside of Arezzo. A beautiful infinity pool and the special hospitality will delight you.
Find the best accommodation in Arezzo:
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