“Look at this, look over there” Take the advice from Guido himself as he passed through Piazza Grande with his friend, Ferruccio, in the 1997 Academy Award-winning film on love and life in the time of World War II - Life is Beautiful, and you only have to look around Arezzo to see it.
Start your tour from this stunning piazza, a downward sloping square encompassed by architectural treasures including Palazzo della Fraternità dei Laici and Palazzo Lappoli; used as the location for several scenes in the movie, including the iconic family bicycle ride through the square. Take a stroll under the arcades of the Logge Vasari, built by celebrated Tuscan architect, Giorgio Vasari, that overlook the ancient square; along which Guido and Dora walked during their night of ‘miraculous events’, soliciting keys from the sky and hats from thin air.
From Piazza Grande you can either take a detour down Via Borgunto from the southeast corner, to visit Guido’s “negozio ebreo” or “Jewish shop,” the Cartolibreria Orefice, whose shop windows are adorned in movie memorabilia and posters or exit on the north west side and walk along to Cattedrale dei Santi Pietro e Donato, where romance blossomed in a thunderstorm as Guido rolled out a red carpet for his principessa.
But don’t wait for the rain to truly experience Arezzo in all its film glory, head to Via Cavour to experience more movie magic including visiting the Basilica of S. Francesco and Badia delle Sante Fiora e Lucilla, following in the footsteps of the couple as they walked the streets of Arezzo. Pop into Caffé dei Costanti, located along the same street, the café and cocktail bar featured in the film proclaiming non-admittance to ‘Jews and dogs’, one of the first signs of the comedy-turned-tragedy that feeds into the second half of the film.
Finish your beautiful day in Arezzo with a visit to Teatro Petrarca to catch a show or to scour the auditorium for the seat in which Guido, distracted by a more marvelous sight in the boxes, entreated his principessa to look his way.
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