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Our Love of Arezzo
Gary and I did a day trip to Arezzo when staying in Florence during our one-year adventure in 2019. It is on the main train line between Florence and Rome encompassing beautiful countryside along the way. It only takes about 45-minutes to an hour to get to Arezzo from Florence.
One of the main reasons we love Arezzo is that it is a hidden gem and less known by tourists over the other big Tuscan towns. It is located on the eastern tip of Tuscany. You mainly hear Italian spoken everywhere you go, and it’s difficult to find a restaurant that isn’t reasonably priced.
We fell in love with this town on our day trip and decided to spend a month here later on in August. It was record-breaking heat throughout Western Europe during this time but we survived. After all, we have lived 30+ years in Phoenix, Arizona – but the difference was certainly the humidity. Something we are not used to.
A Recent Find
We recently rented Life is Beautiful which is an Oscar-winning film starring and directed by Roberto Benigni. The film was released in 1998 and Roberto won the Oscar at the 71st Academy Awards in 1999. This was no easy feat as he actually won over Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan. This film also won several other major awards.
We wanted to see the movie before returning to Arezzo this year so we rented it with English subtitles on Amazon. It was a great movie and we recognize most of the streets and landmarks in the film. We understand the city is dotted with signposts directing you to locations in the film; which we will check out this year. The main square, Piazza Grande, is where the famous bicycle scene was filmed. What this father did for his son during the Holocaust — it was a real tearjerker in the end. If you haven’t seen this movie, it is truly one to be enjoyed.
Giostra del Saracino
We were lucky to be in Arezzo and attend the September event including everything that led up to the day. It was an amazing time to be in this town. It is held twice a year in June and September and a medieval event that should not be missed. We were staying in the Porta Crucifera neighborhood and we purchased their scarves to show our support. We plan to attend the first event in June this year and will share more then. Giostra del Saracino 2019
Landmarks & Points of Interest
This is the main piazza in Arezzo and it is an architectural mix of Renaissance, medieval, and traditional Italian styles. On the first Sunday of the month, you will find antiques filling this piazza and through the streets. There can be as many as 500 stalls packing the town on this day. We also came across a flower market on one of the weekends. It was spectacular.
Built during the 16th and 17th centuries, it is a great place to wander and explore. Breathtaking 360-degree views of Arezzo and the surrounding countryside can be enjoyed from up here.
Parco Passeggio del Prato
This large park is filled with benches to sit and enjoy the scenery under the beautiful trees. You might catch a musical event here as we did just before the Giostra. Groups were practicing the horns and drums at all hours of the day and even until 9:00 pm. A great place to pack a lunch and enjoy the surroundings.
Palazzo della Fraternità dei Laic
Located in a corner of Piazza Grande is the entrance to this Palazzo. The inside is beautiful but take the climb up to the roof for amazing views of the city. While there, investigate the clock inside the tower to see how it keeps time and chimbs for the town to hear.
There are several churches in this town but the top three are:
- Duomo San Donato – Sitting high on the hill, stunning artwork can be found here including beautiful paintings, frescoes, and reliefs created by the architect, Donatello. During the Giostra, many events take place inside the cathedral.
- Basilica of San Francesco – This church is very plain from the outside but inside it is renowned for its Renaissance frescoes.
- Church of Santa Maria della Pieve – Built in the 11th century, it is the oldest remaining church in Arezzo. The back of the church faces Piazza Grande with all its arches and columns.
We hope you continue to follow our journey and remember, if you have any questions about traveling in Italy, please get in touch with us. We’d love to help you with your adventure!
CarolynApril 9, 2020 at 8:24 am
Really excited to know you guys chose Arezzo for your 6-month stay, but sorry this virus has interrupted your plans. We too, were supposed to fly into FCO on 28 April, then go to our apartment in Anghiari through 14 May…not happening. We’ll have to see if our October trip materializes! Fingers crossed. So funny…we have good friend who “winter” in Peoria, also in a Vistancia (Trilogy) development! Will keep my fingers crossed that you get to Arezzo soon. I was SO looking forward to going to Spello as well. You guys stay safe and well!
imodicaApril 9, 2020 at 9:42 am
When Italy opens its borders, we will be headed there. Easy when you are both semi-retired. It is a small world about your good friend – in Vistancia. This is where we are now until we leave. Thank you so much for the Spello recommendation and for the comment on the post! Be safe as well.
CarolynApril 9, 2020 at 8:44 am
P. S. If you haven’t already, go to Enoteca Properzio when you’re in Spello…you won’t be disappointed! You will love the Angelini family!
imodicaApril 9, 2020 at 9:39 am
We will indeed check it out! We just heard from our Airbnb that they have canceled the Infiorate for 2020 in Spello and although we understand disappointed to postpone for another year.
YasminApril 10, 2020 at 12:57 am
If you visit Pesaro let me know so we can meet for a wonderful seafood dinner :-). We would love to swap dual citizenship stories ?
imodicaApril 10, 2020 at 8:49 am
We would love to! There are so many towns we love on the Adriatic Sea! Congratulations of dual citizenship – would love to know more about your story. Let’s communicate by email or WhatsApp!! Thank you.
Kathryn OcchipintiApril 15, 2020 at 5:59 pm
Lovely post! Brings back memories of a yet another lovely place in Italy. Also, I love your mention of Life is Beautiful, one of my favorite Italian movies. I often show the beginning scene with the beautiful Italian hillsides and just showed the hilarious restaurant scene this week for a class about how to order at an Italian restaurant.
imodicaApril 16, 2020 at 12:59 pm
Thanks Kathryn for the comment! We can’t wait to watch the movie again!
Jiayi WangApril 26, 2020 at 5:44 am
I want to visit Arezzo really badly!! What a beautiful place, saving this guide for the future! Thanks! 🙂
imodicaApril 26, 2020 at 9:12 am
Thank you for the comment! You will love Arezzo when you visit. The medieval charm is amazing. Check out our post on the Giostra we attended in Arezzo!
Arezzo in Tuscany – My BlogMay 3, 2020 at 4:11 pm
[…] Our love of Arezzo (in Tuscany) is the topic of this week’s post. Our latest find on an Oscar-winning film starring and directed by Roberto Benigni which ouritalianjourney… […]
Belinda SelbyJune 20, 2020 at 9:50 pm
I’m quite excited to see arezzo and planning to stay 5 nights September 2021 .Looks beautiful….will do a day trip instead to Florence for my fix. Will search for a little apartment. Any particular sites u recommended? Rather not give money to a third party. Thanks Belinda
imodicaJune 21, 2020 at 9:13 am
Hi Belinda – thanks for the comment. We love Arezzo. For short-term stays we usually use Airbnb. I emailed you the apartment owner in Arezzo and he is wonderful and the apartment, although without air conditioning, is beautiful. We find HomeAway and VRBO slightly more expensive but not always. It pays to do your research. The reason we put our recommendations on the blog is so that our readers can avoid that “third party” and we have hear nothing but great things about our recommendations. We always will return to stay at a place we recommend. So excited for you and remember – if you are in Arezzo or surrounding area for Sept 1 – attend the Giostra! It is awesome!
JeanJune 18, 2021 at 7:52 am
I attended Arezzo’s jousting festival in September 2018 – part of my 3-week solo retirement celebration. I stayed at de’Montetini B&B, a sweet spot a very short distance from Piazza Grande. She recommended wonderful inexpensive restaurants. Such a fun & beautiful medieval section of the city!