Arezzo in Italy, is a place for art lovers and shopping fans. Its handsome Medieval square is one of the city’s main attractions, used in the Oscar winning film “Life is Beautiful”. Arezzo might be a bit out off the well-trodden tourist trail in Italy, but it still has plenty to offer.
Arezzo is a rural centre of Etruscan origin, an hour south east of Florence in Tuscany, Italy. It’s well worth a visit, especially since it’s easy to reach by train. This makes it an ideal day trip if you’re based in Florence.
You can see all the major sights in a day, without having to fight through crowds. It’s as well known for its art as it is for its shopping, with clothes, home-wear, jewellery and antique stores, all jostling for space along the narrow streets. The local cuisine with fresh products from the nearby Valdichiana and Casentino Valley has a following of its own.
What to see in the city of Arezzo in Tuscany, Italy
For art lovers, Arezzo is a true delight. It is mainly thanks to the legacy left by its two most gifted sons: the stunning frescos by Piero della Francesca in the Church of San Francesco, and the main square Piazza Grande with the elegant loggia designed by Vasari (the same Vasari who planned the Uffizi in Florence.)
Piazza Grande is also a great place to relax and have lunch, without the crowds that usually fill the squares of tourist destinations. The famous loggia, which once hosted artisan stalls, is now home to trattorias and coffee shops. And on the first weekend of every month Piazza Grande becomes the grand setting for the most popular Antiques Fair in Tuscany.
A walk in the streets around Piazza Grande reveals picturesque corners, old botteghe and Medieval buildings like the Palazzo Pretorio, its façade covered in coats of arms. The Palazzo dei Priori in via Libertà near the Cathedral is a splendid example of civic Gothic architecture.
⇒ From the Cathedral square an easy walk takes you to a green corner of the city, ‘Il Prato’, where you can relax under the shade of the pines. For the perfect day in Arezzo check our itinerary.
Art lovers will enjoy Casa Vasari, the house of the Italian Mannerist artist Giorgio Vasari, a two-story palace that he bought in 1540. He decorated the main rooms himself, achieving a remarkable illusionist effect through the use of different techniques. More works by Vasari and other Renaissance painters can be admired in the Museo d’Arte Medievale e Moderna.
The Archeological Museum Mecenato hosts a fascinating collection of artefacts, from prehistoric, Etruscan and Roman times.
⇒ Discover 10 Inspiring Things to do in Arezzo!By Tetraktys – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Arezzo hosts one of the biggest antique fairs in Italy
Arezzo is a great town for shopping. It’s the place to go to buy gold and silver jewellery, antiques, home-wear and top quality textiles, like those from Busatti.
On the first weekend of every month Arezzo holds an Antiques Fair which is the biggest in Italy.
⇒ The Saracen Joust (La giostra del Saracino) is a traditional festival held every Summer. Everyone’s dresses in Medieval costume, making it one of the most colourful of Tuscan festivals.
What’s near Arezzo in Tuscany, Italy
Around Arezzo the most popular attraction is the scenic hilltop town Cortona, made famous by the novel “Under the Tuscan sun”.
There are also the lively but less well-known walled town of Anghiari and, heading north, the verdant paradise of the Casentino Valley, and the National Park of the Foreste Casentinesi.
=> If you love art, check out our itinerary with Piero della Francesca artworks in Arezzo and nearby Sansepolcro and Monterchi.