Arezzo is one of the wealthiest cities in Tuscany. Located in southeastern Tuscany, it sits on the top of a hill (where else?) at the crossroads of four valleys: Val Tiberina, Casentino, Valdarno and Valdichiana.
Its ancient origins are verified by the stone tools and the so-called Man of the Elm discovered here and found to date back to the Paleolithic era. The Etruscan Arretium was founded around 9th century B.C., and quickly became one of the most important cities in Tuscany, playing an important role over the centuries due to its strategic position along the Via Cassia.
Even though the Medieval center was destroyed during the World War II, Arezzo has plenty of monuments, churches and museums remaining that offer visitors a chance to step back into history. The Church of San Francesco is probably the most famous in Arezzo, with the incredible Early Renaissance fresco cycle by Piero della Francesca depicting the Legend of the True Cross. You should then head uphill to the Medicean Fortress, visit the Cathedral dedicated to San Donato, then back down to the Roman Amphitheater and the Church of San Domenico with the wooden Crucifix by Cimabue.
Arezzo has much to offer although it generally is not included in the main itineraries of Tuscany. If you’re visiting Tuscany for the first time, then there are certainly other places in Tuscany more famous that merit being visited during your short vacation. But if you’re returning to Tuscany and want to see more of the beauties Tuscany is well-known for, make your way to Arezzo and the surrounding countryside. You’ll find less visitors and many more locals, as well as the many treasures in the towns and castles that played an important role in the history of Tuscany.
Visit Cortona, Anghiari, Monterchi and Sansepolcro (if you love Piero della Francesca) and the beautiful castle of Poppi – these are just some of the most beautiful towns in the province of Arezzo that wait to be discovered on your Tuscan trip. Every first week of the month there is a big antique marked in the hole town.