If you are visiting eastern Tuscany in Italy, then Arezzo is a wonderful place to stay. While it is ideally located to explore the beautiful Tuscan countryside, there are plenty of things to see and do in the city itself. Here are just some of the activities and attractions you may wish to enjoy during your vacation.
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It took almost 700 years to build the cathedral in Arezzo. It is famous for the Tomb of Pope Gregory X and the stained-glass windows which were designed by Fra Guillaume. The former sacristy has now been transformed into a museum that houses a variety of exhibits including a Romanesque crucifix from the 17th-century, priceless altar paintings, gold pieces, and a Flemish Pace di Siena from the 15th-century.
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The Piazza Grande is the central location in Arezzo. It is a great meeting point and somewhere to watch the world go by. It is also surrounded by some of the most beautiful buildings in Arezzo, all of which are of historic and architectural interest. This location is used for a variety of fairs, festivals, and events throughout the year. The Piazza Grande was used as a location for Robert Benigni’s movie ‘Life is Beautiful’.
Pieve di Santa Maria
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The Church of Saint Mary is often simply referred to as the Pieve. It is famous as the oldest church in the area. The original structure was destroyed in the 12th-century and then rebuilt in the 13th-century. Over the following three centuries, it had various restorations, alterations, and reconstruction. It is one of the best examples of Pisan Romanesque architecture in the whole of Tuscany. This church is over four floors and the second level has 12 columns, the third had 24 and the fourth level has 32.
Chiesa di San Francesco
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Originally, the church of San Francesco was built in the late 13th-century but many adaptations and restorations have taken place right up to the 20thcentury. One of the most outstanding features is the circular window above the doorway. This was designed by Guillaume de Marcillat. The frescoes inside the church are hugely celebrated and one of the main reasons why this church is so popular with tourists.
Casa del Vasari
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Vasari House was the home of the artist and architect Giorgio Vasari. After acquiring the house in 1540, he spent eight years decorating it with spectacular frescoes. It is located on Via XX Settembre 55 in Arezzo.
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This is a 13th-century Mendicant Order church and it lies just north of the cathedral. It is believed that the structure was designed by Nicola Pisano. It is unusual as it has no aisle. External features include two impressive 14th-century bells. Inside, there are exquisite frescoes by famous artists and a Cimabue Crucifix which was painted on the high altar between 1260 and 1270. A Gothic tabernacle called the Altare Dragondelli lies to the right of the nave and this was completed by Giovanni di Francesco in 1350.
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Originally built in 1322, this Palazzo is extremely impressive. It was significantly altered during the 17thcentury when features were added including the coat of arms carved into the stone and two rows of windows. This historical building served as a prison between 1404 and 1926.
Palazzo Delle Logge
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This palace fills the whole of the northeast side of the Piazza Grande. It was designed by Giorgio Vasari and built between 1573 and 1581. The wide loggias on the unadorned vault have given this palace its name. An interesting feature of the Palazzo is the reproduction of a pillory that was once used to display criminals so they could face public ridicule.
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