Nestled in the heart of Tuscany, the charming town of Arezzo is a hidden gem that is waiting to be discovered. With its winding medieval streets, picturesque churches, and stunning countryside, Arezzo offers a unique glimpse into the rich history and culture of Italy. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient artifacts, indulging in local cuisine and wine, or simply relaxing in a thermal bath, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful Tuscan town.
Arezzo is a city that is steeped in history, with a past that dates back to the Etruscan era. Over the centuries, it has been home to artists, poets, and musicians, including the famous poet Francesco Petrarca. Today, the city’s cultural heritage is evident in its stunning architecture, museums, and cultural events. But Arezzo is more than just a city of the past – it’s a vibrant and lively place that is home to a thriving arts scene, bustling markets, and some of the best food and wine in Italy.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at 15 of the best things to do in Arezzo, from visiting historic monuments and museums to indulging in local cuisine and wine. Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or with family, these activities are sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience in one of Italy’s most beautiful towns. So grab your walking shoes, your appetite, and your sense of adventure, and let’s explore the best that Arezzo has to offer.
Visit the Basilica di San Francesco
The Basilica di San Francesco is a must-visit attraction in Arezzo. Its stunning Gothic architecture and frescoes by Piero della Francesca make it a true gem of the city. Walking through the halls of this 13th-century church feels like stepping back in time. The impressive frescoes, especially the Legend of the True Cross, are incredibly well-preserved and offer a glimpse into the art and culture of the time. Be sure to take a guided tour to fully appreciate the history and beauty of the basilica.
Admire the Medici Fortress
The Medici Fortress is a must-see for anyone visiting Arezzo. Built in the 16th century, the fortress served as a military stronghold for centuries. Today, it’s a popular tourist attraction that offers breathtaking views of the city. Be sure to climb to the top of the tower for a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. The fortress also hosts various exhibitions throughout the year, so be sure to check the schedule before your visit.
Stroll through Piazza Grande
Piazza Grande is the main square in Arezzo and is one of the most beautiful squares in Tuscany. With its medieval architecture and charming cafes, it’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the atmosphere of the city. Grab a coffee or a gelato and take a seat on one of the benches to watch the world go by. Be sure to visit the Loggia del Vasari, a beautiful Renaissance building that’s home to the Vasari Museum, which showcases the work of the famous Italian artist.
Explore the Museo Archeologico
The Museo Archeologico is a fascinating museum that’s home to an impressive collection of ancient artifacts. From Etruscan pottery to Roman mosaics, there’s something for everyone at this museum. The highlight of the collection is the Chimera of Arezzo, a bronze statue from the 5th century BC that’s considered one of the most important artifacts of ancient Italy.
Wander around the Cathedral of Arezzo
The Cathedral of Arezzo is a beautiful church that dates back to the 13th century. Its stunning stained glass windows and Gothic architecture make it one of the most important religious sites in the city. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the church and its role in the religious and cultural life of the city.
Take a hike to the Colle del Pionta
For nature lovers, a hike to the Colle del Pionta is a must-do when visiting Arezzo. This hill, located just outside the city, offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Pack a picnic and spend a leisurely afternoon enjoying the fresh air and stunning scenery.
Discover the Casa del Petrarca
The Casa del Petrarca is a historic house located in the heart of Arezzo. Named after the famous poet Francesco Petrarca, who lived there in the 14th century, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of Italy’s most famous poets. Explore the house and its beautiful gardens, and be sure to visit the library, which contains a collection of Petrarca’s manuscripts and letters.
Get lost in the streets of Arezzo’s historic center
Arezzo’s historic center is a maze of narrow streets and alleys that are perfect for exploring on foot. From medieval architecture to charming cafes and boutiques, there’s something to discover around every corner. Take your time and soak up the atmosphere of this beautiful Tuscan town.
Attend a concert at Teatro Petrarca
Teatro Petrarca is a historic theater located in the heart of Arezzo. Named after Francesco Petrarca, one of the city’s most famous residents, it’s a great place to experience the local arts scene. The theater hosts a variety of concerts, plays, and other cultural events throughout the year, ranging from classical music to modern performances. The beautiful interior of the theater, with its ornate balconies and stunning chandelier, adds to the overall experience of attending a show here.
Indulge in some shopping at the Mercato Antico
The Mercato Antico is a weekly market that takes place every Saturday in Arezzo’s historic center. Here you can find local produce, handmade crafts, and traditional Tuscan products. It’s the perfect place to stock up on souvenirs and gifts for loved ones back home. Be sure to sample some of the local delicacies, such as cured meats, cheeses, and wines, while you’re browsing the stalls.
Go wine tasting in the Chianti region
No visit to Tuscany is complete without indulging in some wine tasting, and Arezzo is located in the heart of the Chianti wine region. There are plenty of vineyards and wineries in the area that offer wine tastings and tours. Take a leisurely drive through the countryside, stopping at various vineyards along the way, to sample some of the region’s finest wines while enjoying stunning views of the Tuscan landscape.
Take a cooking class to learn to make traditional Tuscan dishes
Tuscan cuisine is known for its simple, hearty dishes made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Taking a cooking class in Arezzo is a great way to learn how to make traditional Tuscan dishes like pasta, risotto, and tiramisu. You’ll get hands-on experience in the kitchen and get to enjoy your creations at the end of the class. Many classes also include a visit to a local market to purchase ingredients, adding to the overall experience.
Attend the Giostra del Saracino festival
The Giostra del Saracino is a medieval festival that takes place twice a year in Arezzo. It’s a jousting competition between the four districts of the city, and it’s a great way to experience the city’s rich history and culture. The festival also includes parades, live music, and traditional food and drink. Dress up in medieval attire and join in the fun, or simply watch from the sidelines as the jousters compete for glory.
Visit the Santa Maria delle Grazie church
The Santa Maria delle Grazie church is a beautiful church located in the heart of Arezzo’s historic center. It’s famous for its stunning frescoes by Piero della Francesca, one of Italy’s most famous painters. The church is open to visitors every day and is a must-visit for art lovers. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the church and its art, or simply admire the stunning frescoes on your own.
Relax at the Terme di Rapolano hot springs
After a busy day of sightseeing, head to the Terme di Rapolano hot springs for some relaxation and pampering. Located just a short drive from Arezzo, the hot springs offer a variety of spa treatments and thermal baths. Soak in the warm waters and enjoy the tranquil surroundings, taking in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. It’s the perfect way to unwind and rejuvenate before continuing your adventures in Arezzo.
In conclusion, Arezzo is a charming city that offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring historic monuments and museums to indulging in local cuisine and wine, there’s something for everyone in Arezzo. Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or with family, this beautiful Tuscan town is sure to leave a lasting impression.
What is the best time to visit Arezzo?
The best time to visit Arezzo is during the spring or fall, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.
How do I get to Arezzo?
Arezzo is easily accessible by train from Florence, Rome, and other major cities.
What is the local cuisine in Arezzo?
The local cuisine in Arezzo is typical of Tuscan cuisine, with dishes like ribollita (vegetable soup), bistecca alla fiorentina (Tuscan-style steak), and pappa al pomodoro (bread and tomato soup).
Can I visit Arezzo on a day trip from Florence?
Yes, it’s possible to visit Arezzo on a day trip from Florence. The train ride takes about an hour, and there are plenty of things to do in Arezzo to fill a day.
Is English widely spoken in Arezzo?
While English isn’t as widely spoken in Arezzo as it is in major cities like Rome and Florence, most locals working in the tourism industry speak some English. It’s always a good idea to learn a few basic Italian phrases to help you get by.
Are there any other nearby attractions worth visiting?
Yes, there are plenty of other nearby attractions worth visiting, such as the town of Cortona, the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, and the city of Siena. It’s worth considering a longer trip to explore more of the Tuscan region.