Arezzo is a very ancient city, born in the historical periods preceding the settlement of the Etruscans. When the Romans conquered it they already found a strong local identity and used it to transform it into a military and commercial capital. It was the center of the empire’s expansion and since then its importance has never waned. Its inhabitants consider it a “little Rome” and they are not completely wrong. The magnificent churches and palaces of the historic center compete, and not just in a manner of speaking, with both the capital and nearby Florence. And then there is the province with its infinite wonders. Suffice it to mention, among the municipalities that are part of it, Cortona, Montevarchi, Poppi, Anghiari.
As mentioned, the churches of Arezzo are the most precious monuments of all.
Starting from the Gothic cathedral dedicated to Saints Peter and Donato, to Santa Maria della Pieve with its medieval architecture so splendidly preserved, and then to San Domenico which houses the famous “crucifix of Cimabue“, or the sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie , or even the Annunciation.
Then there are the elegant palaces, the monasteries (Badia delle Sante Flora and Lucilla, San Veriano, Sargiano) and archeology, with the beautiful Roman amphitheater. Do not miss the Medici Fortress, Vasari’s house and the much more famous Petrarch’s house.
For those who love nature, the paths to follow around Arezzo are those that lead to the surrounding rolling hills. They are different, and all of them are part of the “dei poggi” trekking program. Some tracks follow the old railway tracks, such as the Arezzo-Fossato di Vico.
The most fascinating center in the province of Arezzo is Cortona.
This town competes in beauty with the capital, thanks to its magnificent medieval churches (the Cathedral of the Assumption, San Francesco, San Cristoforo, Santa Margherita, San Benedetto, Sanctuary of the Madonna del Bagno …) and dozens of stately villas that often complement each other with sumptuous parks and delightful viewpoints overlooking the Tuscan countryside.
Cortona is also rich in archaeological sites, especially tombs from the Etruscan and Roman times.
The whole of Anghiari is a visible monument, given that its medieval center perched on the hills is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
One goes to Montevarchi to admire the medieval monasteries and cloisters, while in Poppi stands the beautiful castle of the Guidi.
And again, go and visit Sansepolcro (the “village of painters” from which Piero della Francesca came), or Castiglion Fiorentino with the archaeological museum and the Torre del Cassero.
Do not miss the landscapes of the Valdichiana, the nature trails that go around Cortona passing through Eremo Celle, the Path of the Mills, the Alta di Sant’Egidio and the Roman Basolata Road.
Arezzo province shares with the nearby Emilia-Romagna a beautiful natural park, the National Park of the Casentinesi Forests.
As for tradition, a taste is due to typical products such as Arezzo steaks, seasoned with excellent local oil, Cortona desserts, the inevitable castagnaccio and wines of the best Tuscan tradition.
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