Cortona is a small charming town in the province of Arezzo in southern Tuscany. The city’s origins date back to the Etruscan and Roman times and it’s situated on top of a hill. This position offers a spectacular view from all over the town of the surrounding valley and even Lake Trasimeno. The city offers many interesting places to visit.
1a) The “Celle” Hermitage
Le Celle is a Franciscan hermitage located just five kilometres from Cortona, at the feet of Mount Sant’Egidio. The hermitage’s cells were built by St Francis and his followers in 1211 and the place has taken the name of Celle ever since. This is believed to be the place where, in May 1226, four months before his death, St Francis dictated his Will. Currently the hermitage is inhabited by seven friars who continue to practise the preachings of St Francis.
Opening hours: open everyday form 7.00 am to 7.00 pm
Phone number: +39 0575 603362
Address: Strada dei Cappuccini 1, Cortona
1b) Piazza della Repubblica
Piazza della Repubblica, or Repubblica square, is situated in the city centre of Cortona and it’s really close to Piazza Signorelli. In the past it used to be the crossroad of the two main Roman streets, the Cardo and the Decumano. From the square you can see Palazzo Comunale and Palazzo Passerini.
1c) Basilica di Santa Margherita
The church is situated on top of an hill. The name of the church comes from St Margaret who spent her last years in one of the rooms of a little church, where she died in 1297. After her death a bigger church was built, Basilica di Santa Margherita. The church went through a lot of style changes during the years and for this reason it’s full of pieces of art coming from different historical periods.
Opening hours: open every day from 6.50 am to 7.30 pm
Address: Piazza Santa Margherita, 52044 Cortona AR
1d) Duomo di Cortona
The church of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as the Cathedral or Duomo of Cortona, is one of the oldest churches of the city. It was built in the 4th century, on the foundations of a pagan temple. Its form was changed in the 14th century thanks to some designs attributed to Giulia da Sangallo.
Address: Piazza del Duomo, 1, 52044 Cortona AR
The Museum of the Etruscan Academy and of the City of Cortona (MAEC) is hosted in Palazzo Casali since 2005. It combines the historical and famous Museum of the Etruscan Academy, founded in 1727, and the extraordinary museum Cortona’s history and intellectual culture.
From April to October open every day from 10.00 am to 7.00 pm
From November to March open every day except for Mondays from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
closed on the 25th of December
Phone number: +39 0575 630415
Address: Piazza Signorelli 9, Cortona
Arezzo is located in southeastern Tuscany, it sits atop a hill at the crossroads of four valleys: the Val Tiberina, Casentino, Valdarno and Valdichiana.
Its ancient origins are verified by the stone tools and the so-called Man of the Elm discovered here and found to date back to the Paleolithic era. The city was originally founded by the Etruscans around the 9th century B.C., was named Aritim and quickly became one of the most important cities in Tuscany, playing an important role over the centuries thanks to its strategic position.
Arezzo has plenty of monuments, churches and museums that offer visitors a chance to step back into history.
2a) Piazza Grande
Piazza Grande, or Piazza Vasari, is the largest square in Arezzo. It hosts twice a year the famous Saracino juost and every month the beautiful Fiera Antiquaria ( antique fair).
The square is surrounded by several important buildings. For example Palazzo delle Logge, made by Giorgio Vasari and situated in the North-East side of the square, that has a splendid porch behind which there are a lot of shops.
2b) Duomo di Arezzo
Arezzo’s Cathedral ( also called Duomo di Arezzo or Cattedrale di Ss. Donato e Pietro) is located on the site of a pre-existing Palaeo-Christian church and is, perhaps, of the ancient city’s acropolis.
The late XIII century Gothic church, decorated with splendid stained glass windows by Guillaume de Marcillat, houses the beautiful fresco of Santa Maria Maddalena by Piero della Francesca (1460).
It was the seat of the Bishop of Arezzo from the 3rd century until 1986, and from 1986 onwards of the present Bishop of Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro.
The interior has a nave and two aisles divided by piers with ogival arches, with five spans covered by cross vault, without a transept. The seven stained glass windows in the right aisles were executed in 1516-1524 by Guillaume de Marcillat. The wooden choir of the Grand Chapel was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1554. The Chapel of Madonna del Conforto is a Neoclassicist work, built from 1796 and housing several terracottas by Andrea della Robbia.
Madonna del Conforto is a picture of St. Mary which, according to Christian tradition, would have been subject of a miracle happened in Arezzo the 15th February 1796. The picture was hanging on the wall of a basement or a tavern while a terrible earthquake hit the city. A lot of people started praying in front of the picture. The picture became suddenly really bright and the earthquake came to an end. From that moment the picture of Madonna del Conforto has been celebrated every 15th of February of the year. In 1993 the picture was declared patron of Arezzo by the Pope.
Opening hours: open every day from 7.00 am to 12.30 pm and from 3 pm to 6.30 pm. Address: Piazza Duomo, 1, 52100 Arezzo AR
2c) Santa Maria della Pieve
Santa Maria della Pieve also called Pieve is a Catholic church situated in Corso Italia in the city centre of Arezzo. Its structure has been started in the XII century. The façade has been renewed in the XIII century, while the bell tower has been finished only in 1330. During the XVI, XVII, and XVIII century the church has been internally changed. Thanks to the many documents that had been found, it was discovered that Giorgio Vasari and his wife’s remains are situated in the grave under the church’s floor.
Opening hours: open every day from 8.00 am to 12.30 pm and from 3 pm to 6.30 pm
Address: Corso Italia, 7, 52100 Arezzo AR
2d) Basilica di San Francesco
The Basilica of San Francesco is a really important Catholic church in Arezzo.
It is made of stone and bricks and it’s situated in San Francesco square. The interior is really spacious and it has just one aisle. On the left side there are some chapels. Inside the main one there is the famous cycle of frescos made by Piero della Francesca called “Storie della Vera Croce”. The church also hosts a big crucifix made by the Master of San Francesco.
From Monday to Friday Open from 9.00 am to 8.30 pm
On Saturdays Open from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm
On Sundays Open from 1 pm to 5.30 pm
Address: Piazza S. Francesco, 1, Arezzo
Phone number: +39 0575 352727
2e) San Domenico
San Domenico church is one of the most known churches in Arezzo. It hosts the really famous wooden Crucifix made by Cimabue around 1260. In January 1276 the church hosted the first Catholic Conclave in history. The church was begun in 1275 and finished in the XIV century.
From Monday to Saturday Open from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.00 pm to 7.00 pm
On Sundays Open from 10.00 am to 11.00 am and from 12.30 pm to 7 pm
Address: Via di Sasso Verde, 59, 52010 Arezzo AR
2f) Museo Diocesano dell’Arte Sacra (MuDAS)
Museo Diocesano dell’Arte Sacra (Diocesan Museum of Religious Art) was established in 1963, but it was opened to the public only in 1985. The museum hosts religious artworks dated from the XII to the XIX century that come from the churches of Arezzo. The museum is divided in five big rooms. There are a lot of art works made by Giorgio Vasari and Luca della Robbia.
Opening hours: open every day from 10.00 to 6.00 pm
Address: Piazza Duomo, 1, 52100, Arezzo
Phone number: +39 05754027268
2g) Casa Vasari
Casa Vasari is a building situated in XX Settembre streen in Arezzo. It had been the family house of the famous painter, architect and art historian Giorgio Vasari. The house shall keep many frescoed rooms. The artist bought this building around 1540 but because of his many commitments in Florence and Rome he lived there only during short periods of time. However, he helped building and decorating the house.
From Monday to Saturday (closed on Tuesdays) Open from 8.30 am to 7.00 pm
On Sundays Open from 8.30 am to 1.00 pm
2h) Fortezza Medicea
Fortezza Medicea is the fortress of Arezzo and is located on the San Donato hill. It represents a defensive military architecture example of the XVI century. The building has an irregular pentagonal shape and is situated at the end of Prato gardens. Fortezza represents one of the best panoramic points of the city where you can see Arezzo, Arno valley, Pratomagno, Catenaia mountain from above.
Opening hours: open from Tuesday to Sundays from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm (closed on Mondays)
Address: Viale Bruno Buozzi, 52100, Arezzo AR
Phone number: +39 0575 377504
At the foot of the last part of the Tuscan Apennines, Sansepolcro dominates Valtiberina, the valley of the river Tiber. Tradition attributes a mythical origin to Sansepolcro due to the work of two pilgrim Saints Arcano and Egidio who, returning from the Holy Land, received a divine message and decided to stay and build a small chapel in the valley. The town was initially called Santo Sepolcro or “novella Gerusalemme”, which means new Jerusalem.
The city is profoundly linked to the great river which crosses it and gives the name of Valtiberina to the whole of the surrounding valley. The area has always been a lively centre of commerce due to it being a borderland, today it is a junction between four regions in the exact centre of Italy.
3a) Aboca Museum
Aboca Museum was created by ABOCA, a company which produces herbal medicinal products. In the musuem the visitors can discover the history and traditions of herbal.
Another interesting thing about thr museum is the research centre that hosts the Bibliotheca Antiqua, a really big library containing 2,500 tomes which talk about the therapeutic value of plants and health released between 1500 and 1900.
From October to March Open every day except for Mondays From 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.30 pm to 6.00 pm
From April to September Open every day From 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 3.00 pm to 7.00 pm
Address: Via Niccolo Aggiunti, 75, 52037, San Sepolcro, AR
Phone number: +39 0575 733589
3b) Museo Civico di Sansepolcro
Museo civico di Sansepolcro (Sansepolcro’s civic Museum) is situated in Aggiunti street. It consists of ten rooms distributed on two floors and a basement. Created in the XVIII century, the art gallery that the museum hosts has been extended through the years. The museum has been opened to the public in 1975. The museum keeps art works by famous artists like Piero della Francesca, Matteo di Giovanni, Giovanni Battista Cungi and many others.
From the 25th September to the the 9th June 25 settembre / 9 giugno
Open every day from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.30 pm to 6.00 pm
From the 10th June to the 24th September
Open every day from 10.00 am to 1.30 pm and from 2.30 pm to 7.00 pm
Closed on the 25th December and on the 1st January
Address: Via Niccolò Aggiunti, 65, 52307, Sansepolcro, AR
Phone number: +39 0575732218
Anghiari is about 30 km from Arezzo, near the border between Tuscany and Umbria in the Tuscan Valtiberina valley. Anghiari is a small medieval city set on a hill made of stone built up over the centuries from the Tiber river.
Thanks to its strategical position, Anghiari played an important role in the Middle Ages. The flat valley underneath the village was the set of the famous Battle of Anghiari in 1440. The legendary fresco depicting the “Battle of Anghiari” by Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned to celebrate this victory.
Anghiari preserves the ancient and original atmosphere of small medieval towns and is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
4a) Madonna del Parto
The Museum of the Madonna del Parto, just outside the walls of the village of Monterchi- a small town near Anghiari- , is a museum for a single work, Piero della Francesca’s masterpiece, probably painted in the mid-15th century for the small Church of Momentana, now a cemetery chapel.
The painting depicts the visibly pregnant Virgin with her hand on her stomach in a gesture of great naturalness. The angels open a tent, the tabernacle that contains Mary who, in her turn, is the tabernacle for the body of Christ.
From the 1st April to the 1st November
Open every day from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.00 pm to 7.00 pm
From the 2nd November to the 31st March Open every day from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm Open every day (except for the 25th December) from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm
Address: Via della Reglia 1, 52035, Monterchi (AR)
Phone number: +39 0575 70713
The Casentino Valley is rich with history, art, good food and outdoor activities.
It is one of the four valley in Arezzo and is really close to Florence.
This isolated valley offers opportunities for visitors of all ages visiting castles, trekking through centuries-old forests, tasting authentic recipes and so on.
5a) La Verna
Verna’s Franciscan Sanctuary, situated a few kilometers away from Chiusi della Verna in Arezzo’s province- inside Casentinesi Forests National Park-, is known for being the place where Saint Francis of Assisi received stigmata the 14th September 1224.
Built in the shouther part of Penna mountain, the sanctuary- destination of many pilgrims- hosts a lot of chapels, places of prayer and other very important religious places.
Opening hours: open every day from 6.30am to 7.30pm (winter)/ 10.00pm (summer)
Address: Via del Santuario, 45, 52010, Chiusi della Verna, AR
Phone number: +39 0575 534249
5b) Conti Guidi Castle
Conti Guidi Castle is situated in Piazza della Repubblica in Poppi, a small town close to Arezzo.
The castle has been built during the Middle Ages from the will of Count Simone Guidi and his son Guido. The castle has been the site of an historical event: the Campaldino battle in 1191.
The building was maybe created by Arnolfo di Cambio.
The castle hosts the city hall, a chapel, a museum about the Campaldino battle and a big library.
Address: Piazza della Republica, 1, Poppi, Arezzo
Phone number: +39 0575 520516
5c) Eremo di Camaldoli
Camaldoli Hermitage is a religious building situated close to the town Camaldoli in Arezzo province.
It has been founded by Saint Romualdo during the first years of the XI century and is the Mother House of the Benedectines congregation of the camaldolesis.
Today the hermitage hosts the monastery where nine monks live.
5d) Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi
The Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona, Campigna is a national park in Italy. Created in 1993, it covers an area of about 368 square kilometres, on the two sides of the Apennine watershed between Romagna and Tuscany, and is divided between the provinces of Forlì Cesena, Arezzo and Florence.
It extends around the long ridge, descending steeply along the parallel valleys of the Romagna side and more gradually on the Tuscan side, which has gentler slopes, especially in the Casentino area, which slopes down gradually to the broad valley of the Arno.
5e) Pieve di San Pietro
Saint Peter pieve in Romena, a city close to Arezzo, is Catholic church situated close to the Romena castle in Pratovecchio municipality.
The church has been built in the XII century.
The façade is really simple rustic and made of hedging stones. On the left side there is a bell tower.
The interior is divided in three aisles.
The presbytery is raised from the ground and the pavement is divided on different levels.