Arezzo Mini Guide
About the City of Arezzo
The city is built high on a hillside above the valley of the River Arno over which it has fabulous views. Its streets are extremely steep so visitors wanting to explore need to wear good footwear and be reasonably fit. Solfeggio, the style of music made famous in the ‘do-ray-me’ song of ‘The Sound of Music’ was invented here by Guido d’Arezzo
A Little History
The city was one of the most important Etruscan cities until it was captured by the Romans. During the Civil Wars it was almost totally destroyed with only one building, the amphitheatre, remaining after the Gothic War and the invasion of the Lombards.
The best airports for access to Arezzo are Pisa
. There are trains to Arezzo station from Rome
and Florence. If arriving by car, the streets are not particularly vehicle friendly so it’s best to park in the car park on the outskirts and walk in.
What to see in the City
Try to get to see the casa del petrarca , the home of the Roman poet Petrarch. It’s a private house so you’ll need to arrange a convenient time. See the Piazza Grande lined with palaces and other important buildings. There’s an unusual Romanesque church Santa Maria della Piave with a huge square based tower amongst other beautiful churches from medieval times. In places there are still the remains of the old Etruscan walls and at the top of the Hill of the Sun you can see the remains of the ancient necropolis.
What to see Outside the City
The valley of the River Arno below is beautiful. It’s a flood plain and in places is home to many marshland birds.
What to Do
Pretend you’re a medieval lady, knight or peasant and get dressed up for the jousting festival which takes place twice a year in June and September. You could also hire a boat and venture onto the Arno River or try a spot of fishing. In town you can also stroll through the Antiques Fair with over 500 stalls or climb the tower of the Palazzo dei Priori for a panoramic view of the city.
Places to Shop
Many outlets sell the modern form of the ancient Arettine Ware red pottery which make good souvenirs or gifts. The region is famed for its wine and a couple of bottles from the various wine cellars dotted around the town will also be appreciated on your return. The city is also known for its goldsmiths and if you can afford it, a beautiful piece of Arrezan gold jewellery makes aspecial gift.
Eating and Drinking
There are many bars, cafés and restaurants found around the edges of the city squares with the best (but most expensive) being around the Piazza Grande. Specialities of the area are the soups based on bread, Acquacotta or Ribollita or the city’s famed Chianina steaks.
Festivals and Special Occasions
If you like choral works, the city hosts an international choir competition each year.
In the Piazza Grande there’s a medieval festival each year including a jousting contest.
In the summer, the Arezzo Festival is a celebration of modern and ancient theatre.