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Arezzo is a charming hill town situated in an area inhabited since prehistoric times, as evidenced by the discovery of the so-called “Olmo Man” (a skull dating back to 50,000 years ago). Arezzo was a major Etruscan city: great works of art date back to this period, such as the Chimera, preserved in Florence, whose image features so much the city to have become its symbol. Arezzo was later conquered by the Romans: the city’s cultural life was particularly strong at the beginning of the imperial times thanks to Maecenas, born in Arezzo, whose name is remained forever linked to the promotion of culture and art. Also the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre can be dated to this period. In Middle Ages Arezzo became a free city and was involved in the wars that continually broke out among the cities of Tuscany, until it became part of the territory of Florence in 1384. Arezzo can boast of many works of art, such as the wonderful frescoes of the “Legend of the True Cross” that the great painter Piero della Francesca painted in the Basilica of San Francesco. Other remarkable monuments are the Cathedral (Gothic style, begun in the thirteenth century), the Pieve di Santa Maria (XII century), the San Domenico Church (XII century), the Francesco Petrarca House and the Giorgio Vasari House, which houses a small medieval art museum. An event deeply rooted in the traditions of Arezzo is the Giostra del Saracino, a jousting tournament in fourteenth-century colourful costumes, that is strongly felt by the citizens and that is held annually in June and September.

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