What to see in Arezzo a day
In this guide, we are exploring the secrets of Arezzo in a day – a town brimming with history and wonder. Arezzo, situated in the southwestern region of Tuscany, held significance as a prominent Etruscan Lucumonies and later evolved into a crucial Roman hub.
During the Middle Ages, it transformed into an independent commune where the Ghibelline faction dominated, leading to conflicts with Florence. However, after the battle of Campaldino in 1289, Arezzo fell under Florentine rule and became a part of the Grand Duchy of the Medici family.
This rich history has left behind visible remnants that can still be observed today, along with traces of renowned figures associated with the city, including Vasari, Piero della Francesca, Guido Monaco, Francesco Redi, and Francesco Petrarca.
How to get to Arezzo
Plane to Arezzo
If you’re arriving internationally, the nearest major airport is Florence Airport (Amerigo Vespucci Airport), which is well-connected to many European cities. From there, you can take a train or rent a car to reach Arezzo.
Train to Arezzo
The most popular way to reach Arezzo is by train. It is well-connected to major Italian cities like Florence, Rome, and Milan. The journey from Florence takes approximately an hour, while Rome is around two hours away. Trains run frequently, and the Arezzo train station is conveniently located in the town center.
Bus to Arezzo
Arezzo is also serviced by buses, which connect it to other towns in Tuscany and beyond. This is an economical option for travellers, but the journey may take longer than by train.
Car to Arezzo
If you prefer to drive, Arezzo is easily accessible by car. The town is situated at the intersection of the A1 Autostrada (the Italian highway system), making it reachable from all directions. Parking can be found in various locations and many hotels offer parking facilities.
What to do in Arezzo
Quick Facts about Arezzo
- Arezzo is a place for art lovers and shopping fans
- Its handsome Medieval square was used in the Oscar winning film “Life is Beautiful”
- Arezzo is located near the southeast corner of Tuscany
- The Saracen Joust historical reenactment takes place in Piazza Grande on the third Saturday in June and the first Sunday of September.
- The most famous Etruscan artefact in Arezzo is the celebrated “Chimaera”, a beautiful bronze sculpture
- In Arezzo there is an astronomical clock dating back to the sixteenth century
- The Goldsmith District of Arezzo is world-famous for its unique items of high quality craftsmanship and international OroArezzo trade fair
1. Piazza Grande
Kown for its unique shape resulting from its construction on a sloping terrain, Piazza Grande remains a captivating destination worth exploring, even in the absence of its bustling market atmosphere.
The square is surrounded by historic buildings and is home to the Vasari Loggia.The Piazza Grande, which frequently holds a number of festivals and events all year long, is a great site to begin your exploration of Arezzo.
2. Arezzo Cathedral
The Arezzo Cathedral, known as the Duomo or Cathedral of San Donato, originates from the 13th century. Inside, visitors can admire stunning stained-glass windows crafted in the 1500s, a bas-relief depicting The Baptism of Jesus by Donatello, the Chapel of the Madonna del Conforto, and vibrant frescoes adorning the nave’s ceiling.
The outer facade of San Donato Cathedral appears rather plain, reflecting its 13th-century origins as an early Gothic church. Its construction spanned around two centuries. A significant feature is the pointed bell tower, added to the city’s skyline in the nineteenth century. As typical of Italian duomos, the cathedral houses religious artworks and burial sites. Notably, within the right aisle rests the 14th-century tomb of Pope Gregory X.
3. Basilica of San Francesco
This church in Arezzo holds considerable importance due to the famed frescoes portraying the Legend of the True Cross, crafted by Pietro della Francesca. Completed in 1377, the church lacks a finished facade, with most frescoes added during the 15th century. These frescoes stand as an exemplary masterpiece of the early Renaissance. To view them, advance ticket booking is required due to restricted daily access.
Opening Hours And Ticket Price
Monday to Friday 9:00 to 18:30
Saturday 9:00 to 13:30
Sunday from 13:00 to 17:30
Admission is €9,00 regular and €5,00 reduced
4. Fortezza Medicea
Constructed between 1538 and 1560, the fortress, situated inside the city walls, was originally a formidable pentagonal structure. Exhibiting diverse architectural styles, it was partly dismantled by the French in 1800, leaving evident explosion damage on its western side.
While the fortress now stands as a historical relic, ascending its walls offers a panoramic 360-degree vista of Arezzo and its environs.
Opening Hours And Ticket Price
Medici fortress is open Monday to Friday: 11.00 am – 7.00 pm (last admission at 6.30 pm) and Saturday to Sunday: 10.00 am – 8.00 pm (last admission at 7.30 pm).
Admission is €4.00 regular and €2.00 reduced.
5. National Archaeological Museum
Situated on the periphery of Arezzo’s city center, the Gaio Clinio Mecenate National Archaeological Museum showcases artifacts from the Etruscan, Roman, and Egyptian eras across 26 galleries spanning two floors. Overlooking the Roman Amphitheater, this museum serves as a repository of precious relics like Etruscan funerary items, statues, and valuable jewels. Nestled in the southern part of the ancient town center, not far from Parco Sandro Pertini, this museum, established in 1937, resides in a splendid structure and houses an extensive collection of ancient treasures, including ceramics from the 1st century, human remains dating back to the 6th century, and an assortment of bronze weaponry and equipment.
Opening Hours And Ticket Price
The museum is open daily from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Admission is € 9,00 regular and €5,00 reduced.
6. Church of Santa Maria della Pieve
The Church of Santa Maria della Pieve stands as a remarkable representation of Romanesque architecture, celebrated for its elaborate facade adorned with intricate sculptures and geometric motifs. Inside, visitors can admire its distinctive layout and exquisite frescoes.
The church features three levels of arcades, each stacked upon the other. The lower floors exhibit blind arches, while the upper ones display loggias. As the stories ascend, the arches and columns progressively increase in number but decrease in size – 12, 24, and 32 respectively. During evenings, the third level is notably illuminated, adding to its allure. Additionally, the church houses an impressive bell tower, the tallest structure in Arezzo, rising to ten floors. Inside, the church emanates a sense of harmony, characterized by Vasari’s design for the high altar and Pietro Lorenzetti’s charming polyptych portraying the Madonna, child, and saints.
Opening Hours And Ticket Price
The church is open 8.30 to 12.30 and 15.00 to 19.00 from May to September and 15.00 to 18.00 the rest of the year.
Admission is free.
7. Casa Vasari
Giorgio Vasari, a notable Renaissance architect and artist, was born in Arezzo. His former residence, Casa Vasari, has been transformed into a museum dedicated to preserving his life and artistic legacy. Visitors can explore this house, featuring period furniture, an art collection, and frescoes personally painted by Vasari.
Casa Vasari stands as a prized establishment in Arezzo, celebrated for its valuable frescoes and artistic heritage. Acquired by Vasari in the 16th century, the villa became a canvas for his artistic endeavors. Each room is adorned with opulence, displaying some of the artist’s most magnificent works. The Hall of the Muse, The Salon, and the picturesque garden were all designed in a mannerist style. While wandering through these splendid artworks, one can deeply appreciate Vasari’s profound devotion to art.
8. Antique Fair
If you’re in Arezzo during the first Sunday of the month or the preceding Saturday, make sure not to overlook the renowned Arezzo Antique Fair. This lively open-air market transforms Piazza Grande and its adjacent streets into a treasure trove of antiques, collectibles, and vintage items. It’s a haven for antique enthusiasts and offers a vibrant experience for all visitors. Arezzo is esteemed for its antique scene and serves as a paradise for bargain hunters. Whether you seek a great deal or simply wish to peruse through a myriad of collectibles, furniture, and historical items, this market is the ultimate destination.
Arezzo hosts this captivating antiques market monthly, drawing in over 500 stalls that overflow onto Piazza Grande and its nearby streets. With up to 30,000 attendees, the event presents an unparalleled spectacle. Even if antiques aren’t your main interest, witnessing the sights, sounds, and bustling atmosphere of this market is truly worthwhile.
9. Corso Italia
Corso Italia stands as the principal artery in Arezzo, commencing its journey near Santa Maria della Pieve and winding its way downhill, eventually leading to the train station. This bustling pedestrian avenue serves as a bustling hub, adorned with an array of shops, inviting cafes, and an added allure during the antique fair—numerous stalls brimming with antiques and artwork.
Throughout the year, Corso Italia pulsates with life, catering to locals and tourists alike. Its vibrant ambiance, flanked by an eclectic mix of establishments, offers a delightful experience for those strolling down its bustling thoroughfare.
10. Arezzo Park
Arezzo Park, a serene green area a short distance from Piazza della Libertà and the terminus of Corso Italia, offers a tranquil setting for a leisurely walk. Additionally, within and around the park, there are two splendid viewpoints providing picturesque perspectives.
Adjacent to the fortress, Arezzo Park enables visitors to seamlessly combine their exploration of both sites. At the park’s northern end, you’ll enjoy scenic vistas across the picturesque Tuscany hills. Conversely, on the park’s southern side, near Tempietto alla Vittoria, a captivating view unfolds along Corso Italia and Via dell’Orto, extending towards the clock tower of the town hall.
What to eat and where
Kown for its traditional and cozy atmosphere, Antica Osteria l’Agania delights with home-cooked dishes and a selection of wines. Their homemade pastas with delicious sauces come highly recommended. Despite some opinions of it being tourist-oriented, many find the experience truly authentic and commendable.
A decades-old trattoria, Il Cantuccio serves classic Tuscan fare, famous for its homemade pasta dishes like tagliatelle with truffles and pici with chestnuts and porcini mushrooms. The place is celebrated for its genuine Tuscan food and has been a local favourite for approximately 40 years.
Il Cervo offers a well-known traditional Italian cuisine, including a deli counter with cold antipasto and homemade pasta with wild boar. Customers have the unique opportunity to select from freshly made items at the deli counter and watch as chefs cook them on the spot. The restaurant is praised for its generous portions, reasonable prices, and the quality of its authentic Tuscan food.
Where to Stay
Graziella Patio Hotel is a historic townhouse converted into a boutique hotel with 13 contemporary rooms and suites, some featuring private hot tubs or saunas. Ideal for couples and considered a great value within Arezzo.
Address: Via Cavour, 23, 52100 Arezzo AR, Italy
Il Borro is a beautiful hotel is situated in a vast 700-hectare estate that once belonged to the Medicis; this hotel offers a blend of modern comforts with medieval charm. It features 22 rooms and suites, three restaurants, a billiards room, pool, and sauna.
Address: Located in San Giustino Valdarno
Badia di Pomaio is a Tuscan stone abbey adorned with Scandinavian design elements. It offers 14 unique, light, and spacious rooms and suites, a lounge, bar, restaurant, and terrace. Authentic Tuscan cuisine and an excellent wine cellar add to its charm.
Address: Località Pomaio, 4, 52100 Arezzo AR, Italy
Is Arezzo worth visiting?
Piazza Grande, the primary square in Arezzo, stands out as one of Italy’s most picturesque squares. Additionally, it holds a monthly antique market and biannual jousting reenactments in the main square. While Arezzo, nestled in the Tuscan hills, offers historical allure, we found it slightly less captivating compared to other Tuscan destinations.
What is Arezzo Italy famous for shopping??
Arezzo’s prosperity has been greatly influenced by the abundance of jewelers and goldsmiths. Every first weekend of the month, this square hosts the country’s most extensive antiques market. Visitors can explore an array of items such as art deco curiosities, jewelry, timepieces, books, rare prints, artworks, musical instruments, and vintage apparel.
What is the history of Arezzo?
Established by the Etruscans around the 4th century BC, Arezzo held significant importance as a military outpost throughout the Roman era. However, its prominence declined in the early Middle Ages. The town experienced a revival primarily under the influence of the Bishops, eventually gaining status as a free medieval commune in 1098. As an independent republic, Arezzo flourished and sustained its prosperity.
Is Arezzo a good base to explore Tuscany?
While not as known as some other areas in Tuscany, Arezzo remains a charming destination well worth exploring. This picturesque town boasts an array of captivating attractions, including fortresses, ancient relics, churches, and museums, offering a glimpse into the Roman era. Visitors can engage in antique markets, medieval jousting, and delightful food festivals held year-round. Positioned just a few hours from Florence, Arezzo serves as an ideal hub for exploring Tuscany. Its lesser-known status makes it an appealing choice for those seeking a quieter and more tranquil setting.