Main square of Arezzo Italy

The main sights in Arezzo Tuscany

Arezzo Piazza Grande

Piazza Grande in Arezzo. Main square of Arezzo Tuscany The Piazza Grande is the most noteworthy medieval square in the city of Arezzo, opening behind the thirteenth-century Romanesque apse of S. Maria della Pieve. Once the main marketplace of the city, it is currently the site of the Giostra del Saracino (“Joust of the Saracin”). It has a sloping pavement in red brick with limestone geometrical lines. Aside from the apse of the church, other landmarks of the square include:

The Palace of the Lay Fraternity (Fraternita dei Laici): 14th-15th century palazzo, with a Gothic ground floor and a quattrocento second floor by Bernardo Rossellino.
The Vasari Loggia along the north side, a flat Mannerist façade designed by Giorgio Vasari.
Episcopal Palace, seat of the bishops, rebuilt in the mid-13th century. The interior has frescoes by Salvi Castellucci, Teofilo Torri, and Pietro Benvenuti. In front of the Palace is the Monument to Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici (1595), by Pietro Francavilla, following a design of Giambologna.
Palazzo Cofani-Brizzolari, with the Torre Faggiolana.
• Remains of the Communal Palace and the Palazzo del Popolo can also be seen.

Arezzo Churches

Santa Maria della Pieve Church in Arezzo TuscanyCathedral of San Donato (gothic, 13 C – early 16 C). The façade remained unfinished, and was added in the 20 C. The interior has a nave and aisles divided by massive pilasters. The left aisle has a fresco by Piero della Francesca portraying Mary Magdelene. The medieaval stained glass, the Tarlati Chapel (1334) and the Gothic tomb of Pope Gregory X are all worth seeking out.
Basilica of San Francesco (Tuscan-Gothic style 13 -14 C). Of the projected façade cover in sculpted stone only the lower band was completed. The interior has a single nave: the main attraction is the History of the True Cross fresco (1453-1464) cycle by Piero della Francesca in the Bacci Chapel. Under the church is another Basilica with a nave and two aisles (Basilica inferiore), today used for art exhibitions.
• Romanesque church of Santa Maria della Pieve. Its most striking feature is the massive, square-planned bell tower with double orders of mullioned windows. The church was built in the 12th century over a pre-existing Palaeo-Christian edifice, and renovated a century later with the addition of the characteristic façade made of loggias with small arches surmounted by all different-styled columns. Also from the same century is the lunette with the Virgin between Two Angels and the sculptures of the months (1216) over the main portal. the interior has a nave and two aisles, with a transept also added in the 13th century. In the following century chapels, niches and frescoes were added, including the polyptych of Virgin with Child and Saints by Pietro Lorenzetti (1320). In the crypt is a relic bust of St. Donauts (1346). Fomr the same epoch is the exagonal baptismal font, with panels of the Histories of St. John the Baptist, by Giovanni d’Agostino. The Pieve was again renovated by Giorgio Vasari in 1560.
Basilica of San Domenico (founded in 1275 and completed in the early 14th century). The interior has a single nave with a Crucifix by Cimabue, a masterwork of 13th century Italian art. Other artworks include a Sts. Philip and James the Younger and St. Catherine by Spinello Aretino and other 14th century painting and sculpture decorations.
Church of San Michele, with a modern façade. Traces of the original Romanesque edifice and the Gothic restoration can be seen in the interior.
• Santa Maria in Gradi is a mediaeval church from the 11th or the 12th century, but was rebuilt in the late 16 C by Bartolomeo Ammannati. The interior has a single nave with stone altars (17th century) and a Madonna of Misericordia, terracotta by Andrea della Robbia.
Church of St. Augustine, founded in 1257, modified in the late 15th and the late 18h centuries. The façade and the interior decoration are largely from Baroque times. The square plan bell tower is from the 15th century.
Badia di SS. Flora e Lucilla (12 C). Built by Benedictine monks in the 12th century, it was totally restored in the 16th century under the direction of Giorgio Vasari. The octagonal bell tower is from 1650. The interior, in Mannerist style, has an illusionistic canvas depicting a false dome by Andrea Pozzo (1702). There are also a St. Lawrence fresco by Bartolomeo della Gatta (1476) and a Crucifix by Segna di Buonaventura (1319).
San Lorenzo, one of the most ancient of the city, having been built before the year 1000, most likely in Palaeo-Christian times. Rebuilt in the 13 C and restored in 1538, it was totally reconstructed in 1705. The apse exterior is in Romanesque style.
Santa Maria delle Grazie, a late Gothic sanctuary with a Renaissance portal by Benedetto da Maiano (1490). It has also a marble high altar by Andrea della Robbia including a pre-existing fresco by Parri di Spinello (1428-1431). The sanctuary was built over a font dedicated to Apollo, which was destroyed by San Bernardino of Siena in 1428, building an oratory in its place. The church was erected in 1435-1444 and has a chapel entitled to St. Bernardino.
Santa Maria a Gradi (1591), a monastery existing already in 1043. It has a Baroque interior, but with an altar by a collaborator of Andrea della Robbia.
Church of Santissima Trinità. Built in 1348, it was totally renovated in 1723-1748 in Baroque style. It houses a 14th century Crucifix, a banner painted by Giorgio Vasari in 1572, a painting of Noli me tangere by Alessandro Allori (1584) and other artworks.
Santa Maria Maddalena, built in 1561 over a pre-14 C structure. It houses a Madonna with Child (Madonna of the Rose) by Spinello Aretino, visiile in the high altar (c. 1525) designed by Guillaume de Marcillat. It is now private property.
Pieve di San Paolo, in San Paolo, erected as Palaeo-Christian baptismal church, remade in the 8th-9th centuries and then rebuilt in Romanesque style in the 13th century. The bell tower is from the 14th-15th centuries. The entire church was again renovated after the 1796 earthquake. It has kept 15th entury frescoes by Lorentino d’Andrea and a cyborium. The transept entrance has granite columns with marble capitals from the 5th century AD.
Pieve di Sant’Eugenia al Bagnoro, in Bagnoro. Documented from 1012, it was one of the most important pievi of the diocese during the Middle Ages. The presbytery area is from the 12th century, while the rest is from the 11 C. The bell tower, partially ruined, stands on one of the three apses.
Pieve di San Donnino a Maiano, at Palazzo del Pero (6th-9th centuries). Documented from 1064, it replaced a Palaeo-Christian baptismal church. The fronal part was rebuilt in the 14th century. The apse has 15th century frescoes and a wooden Madonna with Child from the same age.

Arezzo secular architecture

Palazzo dei Priori, erected in 1333, has been the seat of the city’s magistratures until today. The structure has been restored and renovated frequently. The interior has a courtyard from the 16 C, a stone statue portraying a Madonna with Child (1339), frescoes, busts of illustrious Aretines, two paintings by Giorgio Vasari. The square tower dates from 1337.
Medici Fortress (Fortezza Medicea), designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and completed in 1538-1560. It was partly dismantled by the French in the early 19 C.
Palazzo Camaiani-Albergotti (14 C, renovated in the 16 C), with the Torre della Bigazza.
Palazzo Bruni-Ciocchi, a Renaissance structure attributed to Bernardo Rossellino. It now houses the State Museum of Mediaeval and Modern Art.
Palazzo Pretorio, which was seat of the People’s Captain until 1290. The façade has coat of armas of the captains, podestà and commissaries of the city from 14 C to 18 C. Only one of the two original towers remains.
House of Petrarch (Casa del Petrarca).
Casa Vasari (in Via XX Settembre) an older house rebuilt in 1547 by Giorgio Vasari and frescoed by him; now open as a museum, it also contains 16 C archives.
• Ivan Bruschi House and Museum (Casa-Museo “Ivan Bruschi”).
• Gaio Cilnio Mecenate Archaeological Museum.
• Civic Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Other monuments and places of interest in Arezzo

• Roman amphitheatre and museum
• Cathedral of S. Donato with good mediaeval stained glass and the Gothic tomb of Pope Gregory X (14th cent.)
• Romanesque Church of S. Maria della Pieve
• Church of S. Francesco, with the History of the True Cross fresco cycle by Piero della Francesca in the Bacci Chapel
• Church of S. Domenico with crucifix by Cimabue (founded 1275 and completed in the early 14th century)
• Church of S. Michele
• Piazza Grande with the Vasari Loggia
• Medici Fortress (Fortezza Medicea)
• SS. Flora e Lucilla in Badia (“la Badia”)
• House of Petrarch (Casa del Petrarca)
• House of Vasari (Casa Vasari)
• Ivan Bruschi House and Museum (Casa-Museo “Ivan Bruschi”)
• Gaio Cilnio Mecenate Archaeological Museum
• Civic Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
• Diocesan Museum (Museo Diocesano)
• State Museum of Mediaeval and Modern Art (Museo Statale d’Arte Medievale e Moderna)