One weekend in Arezzo: 1 Antique Market, 3 Churches, 3 Museums

Piazza Grande, Arezzo [Photo Credits: Micrea2011]
Piazza Grande, Arezzo [Photo Credits: Micrea2011]
Every month the historical centre of Arezzo becomes the set of a huge Antique Market: for two days, the stalls of over 500 exhibitors change the aspect of the town. So, why not make the most of it? Here are a few suggestions for a pleasant, interesting,  and exciting weekend in Arezzo, starting from its “heart”: the medieval square, Piazza Grande. ANTIQUE MARKET Since 1968, every month, hundreds of exhibitors from all over Italy have come to Arezzo to take part in  this Antique Market. The sight is truly amazing: their stalls, full of old furniture, paintings, glasses, musical instruments and any kind of object you might think of, invade the ancient streets and main squares of this historic Tuscan city. Over 20.000 people visit the Market every month! On a sunny day, you’ll see the vendors take advantage of their merchandise to improvise outdoor living-rooms and lively lunches. You may not discover an unknown van Gogh and turn into a millionaire, but this might be the perfect opportunity for finding the very table or the accordion that you’ve been searching for all your life! First Sunday of every month and Saturday before Website PIEVE SANTA MARIA Between Piazza Grande and Corso Italia is the Romanesque Church of Santa Maria, one of the largest, most elegant and beautiful parish churches in Italy. Entirely made of sandstone, it was built from the second half of the 12th century, but it was completed only during the first decade of the 14th century. Several changes were made during the following centuries. The 14th century campanile, or bell tower, is called “the 100 holed bell tower” because of the five double orders of mullioned windows. Open daily Phone 0575.22629   MUSEO IVAN BRUSCHI Ivan Bruschi, one of Arezzo’s most eminent men, was the inventor of the Antique Fair, and himself a great collector of antiques. To walk through the door of the Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi is to step into a sort of “time machine”. On display in the impressive Palazzo del Capitano, restored by Bruschi after the war to make it his home, are many of the objects he has collected over the course of his life: coins, jewels, sculptures, ceramics, books… The passion of a lifetime! Open: winter 10am-1pm and 2-6pm, summer 10am-6pm; closed Monday Phone: 0575.354126 Website   CATTEDRALE DEI SANTI PIETRO E DONATO The Arezzo Cathedral dominates the city from above. The current church was built between 1278 and 1511 and the original unfinished façade was replaced by the current one in 1901-1914. Part of the original medieval building can be seen on the right side of the Cathedral. Inside you'll find a nave, two aisles divided by piers with ogival arches, a series of stained glass windows by Guillaume de Marcillat, a wooden choir designed by Vasari, a baptismal font with a relief by Donatello, terracottas of Andrea della Robbia (in the Chapel of Madonna del Conforto) and Piero della Francesca's Mary Magdalene.   BASILICA DI SAN FRANCESCO AND CAPPELLA BACCI The Bacci Chapel ,in the 13th century Basilica of San Francesco, houses the fresco cycle of the Legend of the True Cross, the Renaissance masterpiece of Piero della Francesca (1452-1466) and his largest work. The decoration was started by the painter Bicci di Lorenzo in 1447. Then, after his death, it was carried on and finished by Piero della Francesca, who decided to diverge a little from the original source by including the story of King Solomon's meeting with the Queen of Sheba in a chronologically inaccurate location; giving emphasis to the two battles in which Christianity triumphs over paganism; and ending the cycle with a depiction of the Annunciation, not strictly part of the Legend of the True Cross. Phone: 0575.352727 Website
[Photo Credits: CharlesFred]
[Photo Credits: CharlesFred]
  MUSEUM OF MEDIEVAL AND MODERN ART This Museum is hosted in the rooms of the beautiful Renaissance Bruni Ciocchi Palace, also known as Palazzo della Dogana (Customs Palace). Three floors are dedicated to paintings ( XIX - XX centuries), terracottas by Andrea della Robbia, Italian maiolica-ceramics, vases for pharmaceutical uses, a glassware collection and much, much more. Open: 8.30am-7.30pm; closed Monday Phone: 0575.409050 Note: admission free since June 2012   CASA VASARI The house of Vasari is not the usual House-Museum: it is a rare instance of a building entirely planned and decorated by the artist himself.All the rooms are totally painted; the most impressive one is the Sala del Camino (Chimney Room), whose walls and ceiling are completely covered with frescos (which took him only 30 days to finish it). Pay attention to the picture on the ceiling … it changes according to the point of observation: it is not always Virtue who wins over Fortune and Envy! Open: 9am-7pm, Sundays and public holidays 9am-1pm; closed Tuesday Phone: 0575.409040