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Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy

Arezzo, a city in central Italy, capital of the province of the same name, located in Tuscany about 80 km (50 miles) south-east of Florence, was always a place of literature and art.

It was the native town of poet Petrarch, artist Piero della Francesca, painter Giorgio Vasari, poet Guittone d'Arezzo, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Maecenas, the Roman tycoon who protected artists such as Virgil and Horace, and the satirical poet Pietro Aretino.

Info

Altitude: 296 m a.s.l -- Population: about 91,000 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 52100 -- Phone Area Code: 0575 -- Frazioni & Localities: Palazzo del Pero, Rigutino, Alpe di Poti

History

Arezzo was founded by the Etruscans. It may have been one of the twelve most important Etruscan cities, the so-called Dodecapolis; the famous Chimera of Arezzo, now in Florence, was found here. As Arretium it was a flourishing city in the days of the Roman Empire, well-known especially for its pottery manufactures (Arezzo ware, bucchero).

During the Middle Ages, much of its earlier architecture was dismantled to reuse the stones for fortifications. Arezzo was an independent city-state from the 11th century until 1384, when it was incorporated into the Tuscan State of Florence, which in 1860 was included in the kingdom of Italy.

What to see

  • Roman amphitheatre and museum
  • Piazza Grande with the Vasari Loggia
  • cathedral of San Donato with good medieval stained glass
  • church of Santa Maria della Pieve (Romanesque)
  • church of San Francesco with frescoes by Piero della Francesca
  • Medici Fortress


Province of Arezzo

Events

  • The Saturday before the last Saturday in June, and First Sunday in September: "Joust of the Saracens" (Giostra del Saracino), held in the Piazza Grande, when knights on horseback representing different areas of the town (Quartieri di Porta S. Spirito, Porta Crucifera, Porta del Foro and Porta S. Andrea) charge at a wooden target attached to a carving of a Saracen king and score points according to accuracy. The whole town gets dressed up in medieval costume and enthusiatically cheers on the competitors.
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