The Valdichiana Outlet Village near Arezzo is build like a real Tuscan village with the coloured house, village squares, streets and bridges. It offers 70+ stores, selling over 100 of the most famous Italian brands.
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: Continue reading The main sights in Arezzo Tuscany→
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
From a high Tuscan hill, fifty miles from Florence between Arezzo and Perugia, rises the equally ancient and nobile city of Cortona. The history of Cortono, the city that has became famous among millions due to “La Vita e Bella” (Life is Beautiful) by Roberto Benigni, dates back to Etruscan times.
Once you’re inside this beautiful town you get some magnificent panoramas to every point of the compass including views of Lake Trasimeno.
The best way to discover Cortona is on foot as the town is pretty small and parking or driving is close to impossible. The narrow lanes and alleys winding up and down the slopes within Cortona can be confusing; it’s a good idea to get a street plan before you start exploring this inviting town.The town is small enough to make it your destination for a day-trip including a nice glass of wine and fine meal in one of the small bars or restaurants on the charming squares.
Outside the city walls parking areas, some even free, are available.
Under the Tuscan Sun
One of the best-selling books about Italy in recent years, Under the Tuscan Sun is set in Cortona, and is a new tourist attraction for the town. There is also a film with the same title that is loosely based on the book by Frances Mayes.
To give you an idea about the book, we’ll provide you with the details as printed on the jacket of the book:
UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN is one woman’s enchanting account of her love affair with Italy and the home that changes her life.
Frances Mayes – widely published poet, gourmet cook and travel writer – opens the door on a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. She finds faded frescoes beneath the whitewash in the dining room, a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles – and even a wayward scorpion under her pillow. And from her traditional kitchen and simple garden she creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes, all included n this book.
In the vibrant local markets and neighboring hill towns, the author explores the nuances of the Italian landscape, history and cuisine. Each adventure yields delightful surprises – the perfect panettone, an unforgettable wine, or painted Etruscan tombs.