|Image source: eventi-arezzo.it|
With the heat of the Italian summer and the culture rich atmosphere, thousands flock to Tuscany for their summer breaks, which may be off-putting for those looking for a quiet getaway. During July and August, Florence and Pisa become hotbeds of tourism, with visitors from all over the world, and whilst these cities are worth a visit year round, the influx of people may make you feel like avoiding Tuscany all together.
Finding accommodation outside of Italian cities is the easiest way to avoid the crowds and for many, the peaceful surroundings of your Tuscan villa and a good book can be enough to satisfy relaxed holidaymakers. But, if you also want to spend some time soaking up the atmosphere and culture of a Tuscan city and don’t want to be overwhelmed, then head east to Arezzo.
Famed as being one of the wealthiest cities in the region, Arezzo attracts fewer visitors than its famous Tuscan neighbours, offering a more relaxing getaway. So, picking a villa near the beautiful historic city, means that if you get bored of lying poolside, there’s plenty to do and see in Arezzo.
La Vita è Bella Tour
Film fanatics will love Arezzo, with Roberto Begnini’s Oscar winning film La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful) being set in the city. With Begnini being an Arezzo native, and the film an international success, buildings are dotted with signs of film stills in the location that they were filmed. Grabbing a guidebook, or map, and spending a couple of hours taking a walking tour of the city, trying to spot all the signs is a perfect way to spend a hazy Tuscan afternoon.
Basilica di San Francesco
Walking the streets of Arezzo will show you a copious amount of religious buildings for you to visit, each with their own historical importance, but don’t let the exterior of the Basilica di San Francesco fool you-it is well worth stepping inside. The basilica’s Cappella Maggiore houses Piero della Francesca’s most famous fresco cycles, The Legend of the True Cross, which is a masterpiece of Italian Early Renaissance style.
Fortezza Medicea di Arezzo
Built under the orders of Cosimo de’Medici, the fortress that came into the city’s possession in 1893, is now used as a public park. Although, a steep climb like the rest of the city, a trip to the top of San Donato hill, gives you a stunning panoramic view of the city and the Arno river valley that Arezzo rises out of.
La Fiera Antiquaria
The largest square in the city, the Piazza Grande, used to be the central marketplace and is still host to La Fiera Antiquaria. An Arezzo tradition, every first weekend of the month, antique traders take over the square selling a variety of wares, from furniture to jewellery and everything in between. Although you may not be looking to make any purchases, a wonder around the stalls to take in the atmosphere could lead to you buying the perfect, possibly expensive, souvenir.