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You are Here: > > Arezzo

Arezzo

 
 
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Overview

Arezzo is a province in Tuscany with a capital of the same name. Called Arretium by its founders, the Etruscans, it has known many masters. It was an important municipality of the Roman Empire before they came under Goth rule, followed by the Byzantines, then the Lombard and lastly Frankish rule. After so many rulers, Arezzo became a free municipality late in the 11th century.

Arezzo is believed to have been one of the twelve most important Etruscan cities, evidenced by the portions of the Etruscan wall still standing on the hill of Castelsecco and the two bronze statues found here: the Chimera of Arezzo and the Minerva

The chimera is considered the symbol of this town. The bronze statuette called the Chimera of Arezzo is one of the oldest examples of Etruscan art. Upon its discovery, it was quickly added to the collection of the Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I. It is currently on display in the Museo Archelogical Nacionale in Florence.

While Arezzo may originally have been more an agricultural hub and market for animals, they have moved on to become an industrial town. The locals’ craftsmanship in gold has made Arezzo a world center.

Forty percent of the city still retains its medieval flavour. Much of the city stands unchanged in spite of the changing political climate the province often found itself under. Visitors will note that the oldest quarter of the city has retained its shape, with portions surrounded by a wall from the 13th century.

Arezzo is easy to get to. It is accessible by the Autostrade del Sole if you would like to drive up. If you prefer to commute, the Milan-Florence-Rome railway line crosses the city.

One reason to go to Arezzo is the Giostra del Saracino (Joust the Saracen). More than half the town dresses up like the knights and ladies of yore. The men divide themselves into teams representing the four quarters (neighborhoods of Arezzo). Two representatives of each quarter in turn will “joust” with the Buratto — a wooden target in armor on a stake, which represents the ancient Saracens. Points are awarded according to accuracy. It’s a day of fun, food and music in which most of the town participates, some just to cheer on the competitors and enjoy the pageantry.

If art is what you’ve come to see, you must visit the church of San Francesco. In the Bacci chapel are the “Leggenda della Croce” or the Legend of the True Cross frescoes. They were painted by Piero della Fracesca in the 13th century.

Other places to visit in Arezzo are the Piazza Grande or Piazza Vasari — this is where the Giostra del Saracino takes place. It is the main square of the city and one of the most interesting with the different facades composing its sides — the Palazzo Tribunale, the Palazzo della Fraterniata dei Laici (Palace of the Lay Fraternity) and the Palazzo delle Logge.




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