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Arezzo - for city culture, uplifting art and shopping

  • Arezzo - for city culture, uplifting art and shopping

    Underrated Arezzo, 30 km north of Cortona, makes for a surprising day trip. The rolling countryside reveals pan-tiled farmsteads flanked by clusters of dark-green cypresses. Even more pleasurable is the city itself. Arezzo has not sold its soul to tourism. Despite its art-studded churches, tourism is muted in a hidden gem of a city that has, literally, built its fortune on gems. Gold, in particular, has brought wealth to Arezzo since Etruscan times and the city is still popular for lovers of fine jewellery. Arezzo was a major town in the Etruscan federation, thanks to its strategic position on a hill at the meeting point of three valleys. Today, it’s a wealthy commercial centre, dotted with jewellers, goldsmiths and antique shops.

    Arezzo’s main attractions are its magical main square and its churches, often linked to Piero della Francesca. Medieval monuments cluster to¬gether in the northern part of Arezzo, including the Duomo, sheltered by the encircling walls of the 16th-century Fortezza, now a park with fine views.
    But the best thing to do in Arezzo is simply to appreciate life in a Tuscan city that does not define itself by tourism.  Piazza Grande, the sloping main square, has been at the heart of city life since medieval times. The lopsided main square is a magnet for celebrations and strolls, as is the neighbouring Corso Italia. Compared with Cortona, this bold, café-lined square feels more peaceful. Admire the porticoes of the 16th-century Palazzo delle Logge Vasariane before retreating to a café, such as Caffe Vasari (at number 15). Come for the weekend antiques market, which covers the square and spills into the cobbled Corso Italia, the city’s main shopping street.

    Culturally, the city belongs to Piero della Francecsa, the artist who has most left his mark on Arezzo. For art-lovers, Arezzo’s star attraction is Piero della Francesca’s painstakingly restored fresco cycle in the barnlike Basilica of San Francesco.  If time, consider stopping at Castiglion Fiorentino on the way back to Cortona.

    Web: www.visitarezzo.com

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Get a personalized tour of San Gimignano, Siena and the Chianti region during this 11-hour p excursion from Florence.
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Wine tasting and round-trip private transportation from a meeting point near the Florence train station included.
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Tour Length: 7/8 hours.
Dates: Every season. 
Days of Week: Everyday.
Departure Point: From your accommodation - pick-up and drop-off in Florence or Siena province.
Departure Time: 09.00/09.30 am – return 5.00/5:30 pm.
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