To fully enjoy the best of the Arezzo area, we recommend visiting the capital city first. Dating to the Etruscan era, Arezzo is a medieval gem, full of history, culture and art. In the historic centre, you can admire the Church of San Francesco, home to Piero della Francesca’s frescoes depicting The Legend of the True Cross, the Romanesque Parish Church of Santa Maria, the Gothic Cathedral, which the Mary Magdalene by Piero della Francesca, the Church of San Domenico, with a Crucifixion by Cimabue, the Giorgio Vasari home-museum and Piazza Grande. Arezzo vaunts several traditions, such as the Antiques Fair, held every month, and the Giostra del Saracino in Piazza Grande (third Saturday of June and first Sunday of September). Along with a few other cities in Italy, Arezzo boasts the best and largest production in terms of gold processing.
From Arezzo, we move towards the Valdarno, a large plain where, through millennia of water and wind erosion, the Balze were formed. Just beyond the Balze is the Sette Ponti Trail, a Roman Cassia Vetus once linking Arezzo to Fiesole. Following the plain, the landscape transforms into hills dotted with medieval settlements followed by the massive Pratomagno, with its chestnut forests and pastures. Inhabited by Etruscans and Romans, the area preserves today villages with traces of urban walls, fortresses, castles, as well as farms that maintain the rural ambiance of the Tuscan countryside.
Lastly, we arrive in Valdichiana, a fertile and rich plain, surrounded by lush, rollling hills, dotted with splendid and intact medieval towns. This area was inhabited by Etruscans, who left extraordinary traces of their civilization everywhere. In the Middle Ages these settlements were transformed into fortified cities, dotting the hills with imposing urban walls that were often built atop Etruscan-Roman walls.