If you really want to know Tuscan lifestyle, the province of Arezzo is no doubt a thorough combination of different aspects. Sacred and profane attractions mix with beautiful nature along the way and the choice among the many things to do around Arezzo, Italy’s province in eastern Tuscany on the boundaries with Romagna, Umbria and Marche regions, can follow different itineraries.
The artistic guiding thread follows the hints of Piero Della Francesca, Petrarca, Luca Signorelli, Giorgio Vasari, Masaccio, Paolo Uccello and Michelangelo who worked or were born in Arezzo area. Northwards, at only 25 km from Arezzo, Monterchi village situated at the beginning of Valtiberina is the typical Tuscan frame for Piero Della Francesca masterwork “La Madonna del Parto”.
The artist, who was born in the nearby Sansepolcro in the 15th century, captured the surrounding landscape in many paintings and his native town is a celebration of his works. The historic centre of Sansepolcro has remained nearly the same as the time of Piero Della Francesca that revives every second Sunday in September during the medieval festival of Palio della Balestra.
If you are searching for religious atmosphere, it comes alive in some paintings of Giorgio Vasari at Camaldoli monastery and the Franciscan cloister La Verna where San Francesco and his followers established their community in 1214.
Inside, the most precious glazed terracotta artworks by famous Della Robbia family are beautifully displayed. Santa Maria del Sasso Sanctuary and San Lorenzo Church at Bibbiena along with Santa Maria delle Grazie Sanctuary at Stia are other important places for the historic link between art and religion in Arezzo surroundings.
Casentino highlands, where so many religious destinations are situated, extends as far as the border with Emilia Romagna region, including a protected natural area with nine tracks, one of which is the most popular and arrives at Acqua Cheta waterfalls.
If you want to take home something special from this part of Italy, one thing to do is to buy local handicrafts and traditional goods such as the typical woolen fabric “panno casentinese”, appreciated by stylists who made it worldwide renowned. Southwards from Arezzo, Valdichiana is the homeland of the typical Tuscan Chianina, one of the most ancient cattle breeds that supplies the ingredient for Fiorentina style steak, the most representative dish of Tuscany.
Within ten km distance from Cortona in Valdichiana, Trasimeno Lake marks the boundary with Umbria region and beautiful medieval village Castiglione del Lago, encircled by ancient walls, is really worth a visit. Other things to do in Arezzo surroundings that fashion loving tourists do not want to miss include a visit to Outlet Valdichiana just 30 km from Arezzo.
At the shopping mall, built in modern rural style, over 140 stores retail both national and international brands up to 70% discounted prices. Other services for a relaxing time are available as well and include a children play area, a beauty center, a book store and small restaurants to savour local specialities.
Arezzo territory produces excellent wines to be tasted along the Wine Road of Terre di Arezzo or in every restaurant of the whole area. Sangiovese is the main vine variety of Arezzo province, side by side with other high quality and certified wines such as Chianti DOCG , Chianti Colli Aretini DOCG, Valdichiana Toscana DOC , Cortona DOC , Vald’Arno di Sopra DOC and Colli dell’Etruria Centrale DOC.
The tasting of famous red wines “Super Tuscans”, obtained from local Sangiovese or international wines like Cabernet and Sauvignon, is certainly one of the things to do before leaving Italy and Arezzo surroundings.
Come to see Arezzo and book a room at our B&B in the historical center.
Photo credit: Fabio Di Lupo