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Piazza Grande – magical main square

  • Piazza Grande – magical main square

    This sloping central square has been at the heart of city life since medieval times. This massive main square, the Piazza Grande, is barely on an even keel and is set in the hilliest, most picturesque part of the city. It even featured in the classic film, La Vite è Bella (Life is Beautiful), starring local boy Roberto Benigni. Compared with the more touristy town of Cortona, this theatrical, café-lined square feels more peaceful, far more so than Florence. Admire the porticoes of the 16th-century Palazzo delle Logge Vasariane before retreating to a café, such as Caffe Vasari (at number 15).

    The square is at its most evocative during the Giostra del Saracino, a chivalric jousting tournament held twice a year, in June and September. On the first weekend of every month, this square welcomes an antiques market, the largest of its kind in Italy. Stalls cover the square, run around the base of the Duomo, and spill into the cobbled Corso Italia, the city’s main shopping street. It’s a similar story at Christmas, when a huge Bavarian-style Christmas market moves in. In summer, the locals, known as Aretini, love their early evening strolls (passeggiate) between Corso Italia and the square.

    Address: Piazza Grande, Arezzo
    Web: www.visitarezzo.com

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Consisting of two interconnected ogival shells, the cathedral's octagonal dome was erected between 1418 and 1434 to a design which Filippo Brunelleschi entered in a competition in 1418 but which was only accepted, after much controversy, in 1420.

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