Famous for its appearance in Roberto Benigni’s Academy Award winning film La vita è bella, the Tuscan city of Arezzo is a hidden treasure on the Italian tourist itinerary.
Located less than one hour southeast of Florence by rail or road, and surrounded by some of Italy’s best known wine regions, Arezzo is an unassuming but vibrant city with a rich architectural heritage, notable works of art including Piero della Francesca’s stunning frescos (in the Basilica of San Francesco), and strong culinary traditions.
For most visitors to Arezzo, Piazza Grande - the main square - serves as an introduction to the city. Bordered with a miscellany of Medieval and Renaissance architecture, churches and towers, the sloping square is also home to the Giostra del Saracino - one of Italy’s most famous jousting tournaments - and the somewhat more civilised pursuit of people watching! Here you’ll find a number of bars and restaurants from where you can enjoy a glass of famous Tuscan wine, such as Brunello di Montalcino or Chianti Classico, and partake in Italy’s most famous pastime.
Although visitor numbers here are significantly lower than in the more famous cities of Florence, Pisa and Siena, the summer months see a huge influx of tourists across the entire region, and many of these visitors enjoy an overnight stay in Arezzo. From characterful townhouses in the centre of the city to sprawling estates in the surrounding hills, converted palaces to wine-themed resorts, Arezzo offers a broad range of accommodation for a destination of its size. The Hotel Continentale - an elegant four star in the historic centre - is popular with both tourists and business travellers, and its rooftop garden and terrace boasts spectacular views of the city’s skyline. Further afield in San Giustino, the medieval Tuscan estate of Il Borro delivers luxurious accommodation, unparalleled hospitality and an idyllic setting amongst hundreds of hectares under vine. Wine lovers can indulge their passion here through vineyard and cellar tours and of course tastings!
Like many Italian cities, Arezzo’s local cuisine is based around fresh, natural ingredients and traditional recipes infused with contemporary flavour combinations. The city is home to a number of excellent eateries including the intimate Michelin restaurants Octavin and Le Chiavi d’Oro which showcase the region’s finest ingredients through contemporary interpretations of traditional Tuscan cuisine. Octavin in particular is also known for its extensive wine list which includes local, regional and national varieties alongside both renowned and obscure grapes from abroad.
Often overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbours, Arezzo is a fabulous destination for an authentic Italian city break. Art lovers, food lovers and wine lovers will find plenty to occupy their interest here and the city’s location makes it a perfect base to explore the regions of Tuscany and Umbria. So if you’re looking for a culture-rich food and wine city where you can see the sights without fighting your way through the crowds, look no further than Arezzo.
Piazza San Francesco 7, Arezzo, 52100
scalinata Camillo Berneri 2, Arezzo, 52100
Piazza Sant’Agostino 16, Arezzo, 52100
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