The city of Arezzo, set at the confluence of four valleys, was a great Etruscan and Roman centre. Extensive evidence is conserved in the Museo Archeologico, housed in a former Olivetan monastery built over part of the Roman amphitheatre. Guido Tarlati, Bishop of Arezzo in the first half of the fourteenth century, transformed the city into a major cultural and artistic centre.
Wine & Food Magazine
In 1304 Francesco Petrarca was born here. At the end of the fourteenth century Arezzo came under the control of Florence, and later of the Medici, up to the mid eighteenth century. The city offers innumerable artistic masterpieces: from the Romanesque church of Santa Maria to the Gothic cathedral, to the mediaeval churches of San Domenico and San Francesco (the former houses Cimabue’s youthful Crucifix, and in the latter Piero della Francesca painted his extraordinary masterpiece The Legend of the True Cross, a superbly harmonious symphony of form and colour by the great Renaissance master). Centuries of history and culture are illustrated by the mediaeval mansions, such as the Palazzo Comunale, the Palazzo Pretorio, and the Palazzo della Fraternita, the Renaissance loggias designed by Giorgio Vasari and the artist’s own House-Museum, as well as the Medici Fortress. Piazza Grande with its tower-houses provides the backdrop to the oldest and most famous Antiques Fair, which takes place on the first Sunday of the month and the preceding Saturday, and to the Giostra del Saracino, a knightly tournament which is revived twice yearly in June and September. Precious works of art are conserved in other museums of the city. Jewellery and antiques are among the major economic activities of the city. The local cuisine features simple fare: crostini neri (or chicken liver toasts), bread soup, Tarlati soup, the gattò (a typical cake), all perfectly accompanied by the wines of the Colli Aretini and by an excellent Vinsanto.