Arezzo: The Complete Guide
Situated in the south-eastern region of Tuscany, Arezzo is perched prominently atop a hill, at the intersection of four valleys: Val Tiberina, Casentino, Valdarno, and Valdichiana. This locale has deep historical significance within the Tuscan landscape, evidenced by the wealth of archaeological finds, such as stone tools and the discovery of the Paleolithic-era “Man of the Elm.”
The city’s roots trace back to Etruscan times, under the name “Aritim,” originating around the 9th century B.C. It swiftly evolved into a pivotal hub in Tuscany, owing to its strategic placement along the Roman Via Cassia.
Arezzo offers a rich tapestry of attractions, including fortifications, landmarks, churches, and museums, all of which invite visitors to embark on a journey through time. Remarkably, remnants of a Roman amphitheatre still grace the city’s landscape.
Visiting Arezzo for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Arezzo on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!
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This complete guide to Arezzo not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.
This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Arezzo and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!
Palazzo dei Priori in Arezzo
The Palazzo dei Priori or Priory palace in Arezzo, which continues to serve as the Town Hall, has its origins in the first half of the 14th century and has been, since the late Middle Ages, the designated location for the city's highest magistracies. This historic building is a treasure trove of art, containing numerous works including frescoes, statues, and architectural elements that reveal themselves unexpectedly to visitors.
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Address: Palazzo dei Priori, Via Montetini, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Distance: 0.02km
Cattedrale dei Santi Pietro e Donato, Arezzo
The Cathedral in Arezzo is believed to have been erected atop one of the earliest Christian churches in the area. Regardless of this belief, it commands a prominent position, its towering spire serving as an unmistakable landmark visible for miles across the Arezzo countryside.
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Address: Arezzo Cathedral, Piazza Del Duomo, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10.00 am to 6.00 pm Sundays and Public Holidays: 1.30 pm to 6.00 pm | Price: € 6.00 | Website | Distance: 0.07km
Palazzo Pretorio in Arezzo
Palazzo Pretorio is a historic palace located in Arezzo, situated on Via dei Pileati, approximately 100 meters from Piazza Grande. This palace has a rich history and has served various functions over the centuries.
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Address: Pretorio Palace, Via dei Pileati, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Distance: 0.17km
Fondazione Ivan Bruschi - Casa Museo dell'Antiquariato Ivan Bruschi
Ivan Bruschi , born in Castiglion Fibocchi in 1920 into a family of antique furniture dealers, was an antiques dealer first in Florence and then in Arezzo , where he was among the promoters of the birth of the Antiques Fair in 1968.
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Address: Fondazione Ivan Bruschi - Casa Museo dell'Antiquariato Ivan Bruschi, Corso Italia, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Hours: Wednesday to Sunday: Opening hours 10.00 - 13.00, 14.00 - 18.00 | Price: €5.00 | Website | Distance: 0.21km
Church of Santa Maria della Pieve in Arezzo
The Parish Church of Santa Maria in Arezzo is not only known for its impressive bell tower but also stands as a remarkable architectural and sculptural masterpiece. As you approach the church, you'll be captivated by its grandeur, resembling a gigantic and extraordinary sculpture adorned with meticulously crafted columns and elegant capitals that embellish its facade and large apse. Numerous sculptures also adorn the facade and the right side of the church, including the delightful allegorical representations of the twelve months, situated above the central doorway, which often go unnoticed by visitors.
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Address: Santa Maria della Pieve, Corso Italia, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Distance: 0.25km
Church of San Domenico in Arezzo
In the heart of Arezzo's historic center stands the Church of San Domenico, a remarkable structure dating back to the late 13th and early 14th centuries. This church holds a unique historical distinction as the site of the first-ever conclave in history, convened in 1276.
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Address: San Domenico, Piazza San Domenico, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Distance: 0.25km
Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici in Arezzo
Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici is a historic palace located in the picturesque Piazza Grande of Arezzo, Italy. This 14th-century palace is not only a remarkable architectural gem but also houses the Fraternita dei Laici, an institution founded in 1262 that continues to be active today and is engaged in various social and cultural projects.
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Address: Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici, Via Giorgio Vasari, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Hours: Every day / 10.30am – 6.00pm | Price: € 5,00 | Distance: 0.25km
San Francesco Basilica in Arezzo
Saint Francis Square in the picturesque city of Arezzo, Tuscany, may not initially reveal the treasures hidden within the unassuming and unfinished façade of Saint Francis Church, which was designated a basilica in 1955. However, this web section will unveil the remarkable paintings of significant artistic value that grace this sacred site. The most illustrious among them is the fresco cycle by Piero della Francesca, illustrating the "Legend of the True Cross." Painted between 1452 and 1466, these frescoes adorn the main chapel of the church, known as the Bacci Chapel, named after the wealthy Bacci family of Arezzo who commissioned this masterpiece from the renowned artist from Borgo San Sepolcro, Piero della Francesca.
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Address: Basilica di San Francesco, Piazza San Francesco, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Hours: Mon - Tue - Thu - Fri / 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Sat / 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Sun / 1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Last entry 30 minutes before closing. Tours interrupted due to church service from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m | Price: € 10.00 | Website | Distance: 0.27km
Casa Vasari Museum in Arezzo
The Casa Vasari Museum in Arezzo is dedicated to the illustrious painter, architect, and sculptor Giorgio Vasari, who was born in Arezzo in 1511. Giorgio Vasari personally acquired this building and undertook its renovation and decoration with the assistance of his pupils from 1542 to 1548. Following his marriage to Niccolosa Bacci, a member of a prosperous merchant family in the city responsible for the construction of the main chapel of the Basilica di San Francesco, Vasari resided in this house for a brief period, around 1550, until new artistic commitments compelled him to relocate to Rome and later to Florence.
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Address: Casa Vasari, Via XX Settembre, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, entry every hour from 8.30 to 18.30. Sunday and holidays entry every hour from 8.30 to 12.30, with 1 hour visiting shifts. | Price: €5.00 | Website | Distance: 0.28km
Piazza Grande, Arezzo
Piazza Grande stands as the beating heart of Arezzo and ranks among the most enchanting squares in all of Tuscany. Its allure lies in the harmonious juxtaposition of buildings from various historical epochs, creating a tableau reminiscent of a well-orchestrated stage setting.
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Address: Piazza Grande, Piazza Grande, Arezzo, Italy | Distance: 0.30km
National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art in Arezzo
The Bruni Ciocchi Palace, a splendid Renaissance palace in Arezzo, serves as the home to the Municipal Picture Gallery and provides a captivating journey through art and history. Built in the mid-15th century on the initiative of Donato Bruni, son of the renowned humanist Leonardo and Chancellor of the Florentine Republic, this palace is an architectural gem. It features three floors surrounding an elegant porticoed courtyard, likely designed by architect Bernardo Rossellino. Visitors can ascend an elegant staircase to the first floor, which offers views of the rooftop garden and the grand ballroom.
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Address: Museo Nazionale d'Arte Medievale e Moderna, Via San Lorentino, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Price: € 7,00 | Website | Distance: 0.35km
Medici Fortress, Arezzo
Strolling along the outer perimeter of the church, you'll soon discover one of the city's lush green spaces. At its heart stands a majestic statue paying tribute to a local luminary: Petrarca, the renowned Italian poet. This park, designed with a touch of French elegance, provides a sweeping vista that encompasses the Casentino Valley, the picturesque vineyards, olive orchards, and the extending residential quarters of the city.
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Address: the c, Viale Bruno Buozzi, Arezzo, Italy | Hours: Mon – Wed – Thur – Fri / 11.00 am – 7.00 pm (last admission at 6.30 pm) Sat – Sun / 10.00 am – 8.00 pm (last admission at 7.30 pm) | Price: €8,00 | Distance: 0.44km
Roman Amphitheatre, Arezzo
The Roman period plays a significant role in the history of Arezzo, with the most tangible evidence being the remnants of a substantial Roman amphitheatre dating back to the first half of the 2nd century AD. This ancient structure is situated between Via Crispi and Via Margaritone, and its elliptical shape stands as a testament to the strong connection between the Tuscan city and Rome.
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Address: Roman Amphitheatre of Arezzo, Via Margaritone, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Hours: See National Archaeological Museum Gaius Cilnius Maecenas | Distance: 0.68km
National Archaeological Museum Gaius Cilnius Maecenas
The Gaius Cilnius Maecenas Archaeological Museum in Arezzo is home to one of the most significant archaeological collections in Tuscany, providing a captivating journey through the millennia-old history of the city. Together with the adjacent Roman Amphitheatre, this museum narrates the tale of Arezzo's ancient origins.
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Address: Museo Archeologico Nazionale Gaio Cilnio Mecenate, Via Margaritone, 10, Arezzo, Province of Arezzo, Italy | Hours: Monday to Saturday / 9.00 am – 7.30 pm Sundays and public holidays / 2.30 pm – 7.30 pm First Sunday of the month / 9:30 am – 7:30 pm | Price: €7.00 | Website | Distance: 0.73km
Arezzo offers delightful experiences in both spring and autumn:
Springtime in Arezzo: With its moderate temperatures and the blooming of beautiful flowers, springtime in Arezzo is a truly wonderful experience. The city becomes a burst of colours and fragrances, making it the perfect time to explore its beauty. The pleasant weather and gentle breezes enhance the joy of wandering through the streets and admiring the architecture.
In addition to its natural beauty, spring in Arezzo also presents various cultural opportunities. Many events take place in the city during this season, including the renowned Saracen Joust in June. Visitors can witness a medieval-style jousting competition and immerse themselves in the event’s vibrant atmosphere. All in all, spring is an ideal season to visit Arezzo if you desire a combination of natural splendour and cultural events.
Autumn Charm in Arezzo: Autumn in Arezzo invites you to immerse yourself in its enchanting ambiance as the leaves change colours and the air becomes crisp. The historic heart of the city is adorned with the vibrant hues of autumn leaves, creating a breath-taking landscape. The weather is perfect for leisurely walks through the streets, admiring the architecture, and stopping at a local café for a warm beverage.
Moreover, autumn is a paradise for food enthusiasts to savour the local cuisine. Arezzo is renowned for its delicious truffles, which are in season during this time of year. You can also indulge in the famous Chianina beef while sipping a glass of Tuscan wine. The city comes alive with gastronomic festivals during the harvest season, offering a unique opportunity to explore local culture and traditions. In conclusion, a visit to Arezzo in autumn is a special and not-to-be-missed experience.
Summer In Arezzo: The Giostra del Saracino, or Joust of the Saracen (Moor), is is a great event to see in Arezzo. It is usually held on the third Saturday in June and on the first Sunday in September (check the official site for confirmation), taking place in Arezzo’s magnificent Piazza Grande. The festivities commence a week before the actual joust when the captains participating in the event take an oath. During this time, they also determine the sequence in which they will charge and practice their jousting skills in the evenings throughout the week. The Joust of the Saracen is a captivating and time-honored tradition that showcases the rich cultural heritage of Arezzo.
Average Temperatures in Arezzo
- January 10°C 50°F 8
- February 12°C 54°F 10
- March 15°C 59°F 8
- April 20°C 68°F 8
- May 25°C 76°F 10
- June 32°C 89°F 7
- July 35°C 95°F 4
- August 33°C 92°F 5
- September 27°C 81°F 10
- October 23°C 73°F 10
- November 14°C 57°F 15
- December 11°C 51°F 10
Flying to Arezzo
There is no airport located directly in Arezzo, so flying directly to Arezzo is not an option. However, you can reach Arezzo by driving or taking a train from nearby airports. The airports closest to Arezzo, in order of proximity, are Florence, Perugia, Pisa, Bologna, Rome, and Genoa. Among these, Pisa airport is a popular choice for flights within Europe, while Rome is more likely to be the arrival airport for visitors from the US and Canada. Depending on your location and travel plans, you can choose the airport that best suits your needs and then travel to Arezzo by train or car from there.
Getting to Arezzo by Train
Arezzo has a train station located along the Bologna-Rome railway line. The station is served by daily connections with Intercity trains to Florence, Rome, and various other destinations in Italy. The TFT (Transport Railway Toscano) of the LFI group manages the railway lines for Arezzo-Sinalunga and Arezzo-Stia. Arezzo has three train stations, but if you are a visitor planning to explore the historical centre, it’s best to choose the main station, which is simply named “AREZZO.” This station is located at the base of the city and is the closest to the historic center, making it the most convenient choice for those looking to explore the historical attractions of Arezzo.
Getting to Arezzo by Bus
Arezzo is connected to various nearby regions, including Valdichiana, Valtiberina, Pratomagno, Casentino, and Valdarno, via a comprehensive bus network provided by ATAM, LFI, and SITA bus companies. This network allows for easy and convenient bus travel to and from Arezzo and its neighbouring areas.
Getting to Arezzo by Car
You can drive to Arezzo from Florence or Rome via the Autostrada del Sole (A1 Milan-Naples). Exit at the tollgate of Arezzo, and from there, it’s about 10 km to reach the city center. Here are some road distances from Arezzo to nearby cities: Cortona 29 km; Florence 74 km; Siena 89 km; Perugia 92 km; Rome 218 km.