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Arezzo, an important Etruscan town. and known to the Romans as Arretium
This town stands 296 m. above sea level on a hilly slope near a wide plateau on which open the Valdarno, Casentino and Valdichiana valleys. Of Etruscan origin, it was an important Roman Municipium in the Imperial period; after the fall of the Empire it came first under Goth then Byzantine, Lombard and Frankish rule. Between the 9th and 11th centuries it was governed by the Bishop-Counts before becoming a free municipality (late 11th century). This was the town’s period of greatest splendour.
Old rivalry with Siena and Florence, marked also by defeat at Campaldino at the hand of the Florentines (1289), gradually sapped its power until, in 1384, it was definitively joined to the Florentine State, sharing its fortunes until unification with Italy.
The principal monuments are to be found in the old town centre, which has a Renaissance appearance. Just like in the city of Cortona, most houses on the main square are decorated with shields diplaying the coat of arms of famous families of Arezzo.
The fresco cycle of the Legend of the True Cross, the masterpiece which the Renaissance painter Piero della Francesca painted for the Franciscan church between around 1452 and 1466 can be found at The Bacci chapel in the Basilica of San Francesco.
Arezzo is an important market for agricultural and animal products from the fertile surrounding districts, and trades in textiles and clothing, shoes, olive oil, antiques, and gold and jewellery crafts.
Arezzo’s historic old town is small enough to explore on foot. Arezzo is atop a steep incline, and you will feel as though you are walking uphill pretty much everywhere.
Parking is possible for the whole day for about 10 euros