Built in pre-Etruscan times in the northern part of the Val di Chiana, Arezzo is one of the most important Tuscan cities, on a par with the "greats" of the caliber of Florence, Siena, Pisa and Lucca. The city indeed it was the seat of the oldest university in the region, as well as being the birthplace of illustrious personalities, such as Guido Monaco (or Guido d'Arezzo), none other than the inventor of modern musical notation. Due to its rather ancient origins, Arezzo is a city full of historic buildings and various kinds of finds: here's what to see, where to eat and what to do in the city in the evening.
- 10 things to see in Arezzo in a weekend
- What to see in Arezzo in one day: recommended itinerary
- Where to eat in Arezzo: the best restaurants
- What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Arezzo
- Plan your stay in Arezzo: info and useful tips
- User questions and comments
10 things to see in Arezzo in a weekend
1 - Cathedral of Arezzo
The Cathedral of Arezzo (or Cathedral of San Donato) it is the most frequented church by the locals. Located on top of the hill overlooking the city (perhaps where the city acropolis once stood), the church has a Neo-Gothic sandstone facade, with three access portals characterized by a bas-relief lunette. Inside, the structure has three naves with a large polygonal apse in the center. The most distinctive aspect of the entire building, however, is the presence of a hexagonal bell tower more detached than the actual church: it is actually the third bell tower built for the Cathedral of Arezzo since the previous two, due to their proximity to the main structure, had damaged the windows through the vibration produced by the sound of the bells.
- on foot starting from the town it will take you less than a minute, the Piazza del Duomo is right behind the town. From the train station instead it takes a quarter of an hour, walking along via della Madonna del Prato and via Andrea Cesalpino - Get directions
- always accessible
- Arezzo 2,5 hour private guided tour
2 - Church of San Domenico
Immediately after the Cathedral of San Donato, another very important religious building for the city is the Church of San Domenico, dating back to the mid-1200s. It is a Romanesque-style church, with a single nave, recognizable for its simplicity both outside and inside. However, it is still worth a visit since it houses one of the most significant treasures of thirteenth century painting: we are talking about a beautiful wooden crucifix painted by Cimabue, an undisputed masterpiece of the artist as well one of the most famous works of that historical-artistic period.
- the Church of San Domenico overlooks Piazza San Francesco, not far from the Cathedral of San Donato. From the town hall it can be reached in less than 5 minutes along via Ricasoli and then turn right into via di Sasso Verde. From the station, however, it can take about twenty minutes on foot, heading towards the Cathedral and then follow the signs to Piazza San Francesco - Get directions
- always accessible
3 - Medici Fortress
Built on the top of Colle San Donato, the Fortezza Medicea is a typical example of th century defensive military architecture. Built on the area where the old medieval citadel probably once stood, the current fortress was commissioned by Cosimo De 'Medici in 1540 with the aim of preventing and thwarting any anti-Florentine revolts. Today, the Medici Fortress has completely lost its defensive role, however thanks to its strategic position it remains one of the most visited buildings in the city of Arezzo: from the stands you can in fact admire a splendid view of the city below, but also over a large part of the Arno Valley and the mountains in the distance.
- it is located near the city park where the monumental cemetery is also located. From the town on foot, just follow Viale Bruno Buozzi, arriving at your destination in about 6 minutes. From the station, however, along Corso Italia you arrive in 20 minutes - Get directions
- from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00 (closed on Mondays)
4 - Piazza Grande
Also known as Piazza Vasari, Piazza Grande is the main square of Arezzo as well as one of the most evocative in all of Italy. Some of the most significant buildings in the city overlook the square, belonging to different historical periods: among the most important, the Palazzo dei Tribunali, the nearby Palazzo della Confraternita dei Laici, as well as Palazzo delle Logge (on the north-east side), of which Vasari himself was the author and today under the beautiful portico it houses small shops and old craft shops. If you are looking for a little place to take a break, sipping a coffee or doing some shopping, this is the best place in the whole city.
- it is located near the Medici Fortress and Colle San Donato. To get there on foot, from the station it takes about 15 minutes, while from the city hall only 5 - Get directions
- always accessible
5 - Roman amphitheater
In the southern part of the walled city, there are the remains of what was once an ancient Roman amphitheater. Probably made between the st and nd centuries AD., the amphitheater has an elliptical structure and is divided into two orders of tiers (in marble and sandstone), which were able to accommodate approximately between 8.000 and 10.000 spectators. After a series of looting and subsequent restoration works, today the Amphitheater has been almost completely rebuilt (in a very faithful way to the original structure) and it is used as an open-air theater.
- accessible from via Margaritone and via Francesco Crispi, it takes 13 minutes on foot along Corso Italia dal Comune and 7 minutes from the station (first following Viale Michelangelo and then via Niccolò Aretino) - Get directions
- every day, from 8:30 to 19:30
- the ticket to access the amphitheater is cumulative and includes the visit to the National Archaeological Museum: full € 6,00 reduced € 3,00
6 - Vasari's house-museum
Purchased by the artist Giorgio Vasari in 1540, this house was the residence of the painter albeit for short periods, between a job in Florence, one in Rome, etc. Divided into different rooms, which are accessed via an external staircase, Casa Vasari is a real concentration of works of art: in its rooms are collected paintings belonging to the current of late-mannerism, statues but also frescoes made by the artist himself (for example, very beautiful is the ceiling of the Bridal Chamber that Vasari decorated with a fresco depicting Abraham surrounded by various allegorical figures).
- it is located in via XX Settembre, 55. From the town it takes 5 minutes on foot following via Ricasoli, via Sasso verde and finally via San Domenico. From the station instead it takes a quarter of an hour (follow the signs for the Municipality and from there for the Casa Vasari) - Get directions
- Monday to Saturday from 8:30 to 19:30, Sundays only from 8:30 to 13:30 (closed on Tuesdays)
- full € 4,00 reduced € 2,00
7 - Museum of Medieval and Modern Art
The Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Arezzo is a small gem that few people know and visit during their stay in the city. It is a small museum, not very big but characterized by a careful selection of works of art, mostly dating back to the medieval period. Among the main exponents you can come across, you will find Lorenzetti, della Robbia, della Gatta and even Vasari himself. More recent, however, you will also find works by Cecioni and Signorini.
- a few minutes from the Vasari Museum, the Museum of Medieval Art can be reached on foot from the Municipality in 5 minutes and from the Station in 12 minutes along via Garibaldi - Get directions
- every day, from 8:30 to 19:30
8 - Petrarca Theater
It is the most important theater in the city of Arezzo. Built in 1828 by a group of citizens from Arezzo (later gathered in the Petrarca Theater Academy), the theater was inaugurated one evening in 1833, when it was decided to represent Anna Bolena to music by Donizetti. The original structure, with a horseshoe shape, has undergone several changes and renovations over time with the addition of dressing rooms, boxes, etc. After a period of closure to the public, the Petrarca Theater finally reopened in 2015, proposing a season full of theatrical and opera events.
- it is located in via Guido Monaco, 12. From the town hall it is less than 5 minutes on foot, 8 minutes from the station - Get directions
- always accessible
- Free (public access is not allowed in the halls, but only in the entrance area)
9 - Basilica of San Francesco
This little brick and stone church probably it is the religious building most visited by tourists from all over Arezzo and its surroundings: the Basilica of San Francesco in fact it houses one of the absolute masterpieces of Italian art, or the cycle of frescoes made by Piero della Francesca. The Stories of the True Cross illustrate in particular the legend of the wood used to make the cross on which Jesus will be hung: the frescoes, however, do not tell the story in a chronological way but are divided by symmetry (above the outdoor scenes, in the middle the court scenes and the battles below).
- it is located a few steps from Piazza Grande. From the Municipality it takes 3 minutes through via Cesalpino, from the station it takes 10 minutes through via Guido Monaco - Get directions
- every day, from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 17:30, Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00, Sunday from 13:00 to 17:00
- admission costs € 8,00 per person
10 - The Parish Church of Santa Maria
In the locality of Chiassa, the Pieve di Santa Maria is another religious building that is worth visiting if you are in the city. Its structure, rather impressive and impressive, is divided into five blind arches in the base and three orders of arcades resting on about seventy columns. The interior of the church has three naves which correspond to three apses and a roof with wooden trusses. Here is also the well-known Lorenzetti Polyptych, consisting of The Madonna and Child, The Annunciation and Assumption and 12 saints. Finally, the nearby bell tower, nicknamed the 100 holes, is characterized by the presence of mullioned windows, distributed over five floors.
- on foot, from the station it takes about 15 minutes, while from the city municipality only 5 - Get directions
- every day, from 8:30 to 13:00 and from 15:30 to 19:00
What to see in Arezzo in one day: recommended itinerary
Arezzo is a pleasant city to visit in a weekend, both for its proximity to much more touristic city centers (such as Florence, Siena, etc.) easily accessible by public transport or with your own car, both because its fairly concentrated historic center allows you to easily get around the town on foot, savoring the relaxed atmosphere and the wealth of historical and cultural wonders present. That's why we have prepared the one-day itinerary to discover Arezzo, divided into morning, afternoon and evening.
Morning: whether you arrive by train or by four-wheeled vehicle, our itinerary starts from the Arezzo train station, given the presence of nearby parking lots. Fortunately for us, there is one of the best pastry shops in the city where you can stop for breakfast: we are talking about Tiffany pastry shop, a real must for both tourists and locals. From here, our tour departs for the remains of theRoman Amphitheatre, one of the oldest testimonies present in the urban fabric. After a quick visit, we set off in the direction of the famous Petrarca Theater and the neighbor Basilica of San Francesco, highly appreciated for the cycle of frescoes by a great of the caliber of Piero della Francesca. Then the next stop is the beautiful one Church of Santa Maria della Pieve, and then finish the morning near Piazza Grande, the real core of the city.
Afternoon: since it's time for lunch, we stop at the restaurant Vasari lodges, fantastic not only for the excellent quality dishes, but also for overlooking the square. After eating, it's time for a nice walk towards the Medici Fortress: from its position, you can admire a splendid view of the surrounding valley. Then head towards the main city place of worship, the Cathedral of San Donato, recognizable by the hexagonal bell tower. From here, you can opt to pay a visit to the Church of San Domenico, a little more out of the way, or whether to aim directly for the Vasari house-museum, rich in works of art (many of which made by the same author). To conclude, we also recommend a visit to Museum of Medieval and Modern Art: small but interesting, we are sure it might surprise you!
Evening: On the way back, stop by the restaurant Porcavacca to end this long day of exploration in front of a nice traditional Tuscan dish and a glass of local wine. Cheers!
One day itinerary at a glance
- Breakfast at Pasticceria Tiffany - Get directions
- Roman amphitheater - opening hours: every day, from 8.30 to 19.30 - ticket price: full € 6,00 reduced € 3,00
- Petrarca Theater - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Basilica of San Francesco - opening hours: every day, from Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 17.30, Saturday from 9.00 to 17.00, Sunday from 13.00 to 17.00 - ticket price: full € 8,00
- Church of Santa Maria della Pieve - opening hours: every day, from 8.30 to 13.00 and from 15.30 to 19.00 - ticket price: free
- Piazza Grande - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Lunch at Logge Vasari - Get directions
- Fortezza Medicea - opening hours: from 10.00 to 14.00 and from 15.00 to 18.00 (closed on Mondays) - ticket price: free
- Cathedral of San Donato - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Church of San Domenico - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Casa-Museo Vasari - opening hours: from Monday to Saturday from 8.30 to 19.30, on Sunday only from 8.30 to 13.30 (closed on Tuesdays) - ticket price: full € 4,00 reduced € 2,00
- Museum of Medieval and Modern Art - opening hours: every day, from 8.30 to 19.30 - ticket price: free
- Dinner at Porcavacca restaurant - Get directions
Where to eat in Arezzo: the best restaurants
- The corner of the huts: typical cuisine of the Tuscan tradition
Average price per person: € 30,00
Address and contacts: locality Il Matto, 44/45 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0575 959634
- Dario & Anna restaurant: intimate but welcoming restaurant, focused on the refinement of ingredients and unusual combinations in the dishes
Average price per person: € 45,00
Address and contacts: via Vittorio Veneto, 14 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0575 902473
- Piadineria Your piadina: excellent piadineria with a wide choice of combinations of ingredients (with options for vegetarians and celiacs)
Average price per person: € 12,00
Address and contacts: via De 'Cenci, 18 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0575 23240
- Vasari lodges: restaurant with traditional Mediterranean cuisine, with excellent views of the main square of Arezzo
Average price per person: € 35,00
Address and contacts: piazza Grande, 19 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0575 295894
- Porcavacca: traditional tavern, ideal for lovers of meat and strong flavors
Average price per person: € 15,00 / 20,00
Address and contacts: via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 150 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0575 352676
What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Arezzo
Arezzo is not a metropolis, yet the alternatives for how to spend the evening in the city are many and can satisfy all tastes. The main areas of nightlife are concentrated for the most part in the historic center, especially in the beautiful Piazza Guido Monaco (which in summer is filled with outdoor cafes), but also in Piazza Grande, via Roma and via Crispi it is possible to come across pubs, cocktail bars and clubs with live music.
The best pubs, clubs and discos
- San Girolamo Brewery: place for lovers of craft beer, with a wide choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails
Address: piazza Sant'Agostino, 28 (Get directions)
- La Saletta: restaurant specializing in aperitifs, suitable for both groups of friends and families with children
Address: via Bologna, 25 (Get directions)
- The Prince: cult discotheque of the city, equipped with 4 rooms with different musical genres and the possibility to have dinner from 21:00
Address: via Newton, 41 (Get directions)
- TNT Boom: Ristopub born from the discovery of an ancient mine
Address: Via Giovanni Acuto, 13d (Get directions)
- B17: Brewery specializing in Italian and foreign craft beers
Address: Via di Tolletta, 17 (Get directions)
Plan your stay in Arezzo: info and useful tips
- By car, it is quite easy to reach Arezzo from the main Italian cities, Siena (90 km), Florence (77 km), Lucca (152 km), Pisa (160 km), San Marino (135 km), Assisi (105 km), Perugia (95 km), Urbino (105 km), Empoli (107 km), Livorno (166 km). By train, the Arezzo railway station is located along the Bologna-Rome route, which is why daily connections are guaranteed from the main Italian cities via Intercity, regional trains, etc. By plane, the closest airports to the city of Arezzo are Pisa (158 km away) and Florence (89 km away). From here, it is necessary to travel by shuttle to the railway stations of the two cities, and then take a train in the direction of Arezzo (Eurostar excluded).
- Getting around: if you intend to make the most of the historic center of Arezzo, we suggest you leave your car at the parking lot and walk around the main streets of the city.
- Where to park: the best solution is to leave it in the car park of the hotel or structure where you are staying, to be able to venture into the historic center on foot. If this is not possible for you, another option could be to leave your car at the Pietri Parking (Get directions), it is a recently built free car park that will allow you to reach the upper part of the city with extreme ease through the use of escalators. It is also possible to park at the Eden car park (Get directions), for a fee on weekdays and the first Sunday of the month, with a cost of € 1,50
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 30,00 per room -
- What to see in the surroundings: Siena (90 km), Florence (77 km), Lucca (152 km), San Marino (135 km), Gubbio (88 km), Assisi (105 km), Perugia (95 km), San Sepolcro (37 km) , Montepulciano (53 km), Volterra (126 km), San Gimignano (119 km), Urbino (105 km), Empoli (107 km)