While planning our trip to Florence, I wanted to visit something other than the city itself. With four full days in the city, I figured we had time for a short day trip. I chose Arezzo because of its proximity and the train connection. We managed to see the entire city and still return to Florence for the afternoon! Not only did we have time to walk around, one last dinner but also one last sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo. But let’s talk about Arezzo first!

street in arezzo

Many years ago, I stumbled upon the book Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. I picked it up, completely unaware of the same-named movie adaptation. Which was a good thing because the book and the movie have very little in common. The book reads like a diary, reminiscing about the author and her partner buying and renovating a house in Tuscany. While they live in nearby Cortona, Frances Mayes often brings up the city of Arezzo in the book. Specifically, she mentions the city’s famous medieval jousting tournament

street in arezzo

We decided to take the first morning train to Arezzo. Marveling at the stunning Tuscan landscapes for an hour seemed like a great way to start the day. We even got to see a gorgeous sunrise from the train! Unfortunately for us, we visited Arezzo the day after the Saracen Joust had ended. Which meant that the main square was a mess. The workers were dismantling the bleachers and cleaning everything up. Initially, I had actually wanted to visit Arezzo on a Sunday. Upon seeing this, I was relieved about our change of plans! As a result, the rest of the town was tranquil that Monday morning. The charming Italian streets were a treat to explore on our own!

piazza grande in arezzo

Arezzo is probably most famous as the filming location of Life is Beautiful. This Italian classic features many landmarks and streets of this town. And I can completely understand why! I fell in love with the picturesque streets of Arezzo. They were always hiding charming restaurant terraces or gorgeous doors. Furthermore, you’ll find a beautiful big park right next to the cathedral. Parco della Fortezza Medicea features an amazing viewpoint. With seemingly endless hills, it overlooks the enchanting vineyards and olive groves.

sunny street in arezzo
woman overlooking the tuscan hills

Food in Arezzo

After walking up and down the old town, we sat down at Panini & Co for lunch. Like in Florence, it was all about schiacciata sandwiches. Picture two different pecorinos, one infused with truffles and the other infused with pear. Now add some truffle spread, sun-dried tomatoes and you have a delicious lunch. In fact, it was probably the most appetizing sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life! I’ll never forget that marvelous combination of flavors. I wholeheartedly recommend this place!

restaurant terrace in arezzo

Right before leaving, we stopped by the church Santa Maria della Pieve. For a relatively small town, you will find a lot of churches in Arezzo. One of them even houses magnificent frescoes by Pierro della Francesca! Since I’m a big fan of Romanesque architecture, I immediately loved the church Santa Maria della Pieve. The numerous loggias on the facade and its bell tower grabbed my attention. In fact, this is the oldest church in Arezzo! As mentioned before, I’m not a religious person but as a former art history student, places of worship will always fascinate me.

street in arezzo, italy

Soon after that, we headed towards the train station. Altogether, I found Arezzo to be a hidden gem. Incredibly charming, beautiful yet quiet, and comforting. It felt like stepping into a town that the rest of the world hadn’t heard of somehow. I was happy to get lost inside its historical walls and stunning palazzos. Also, don’t forget to look up the house Francecsco Petrarca was born in!

palazzo in arezzo

Overall, I absolutely loved our short visit to Arezzo. A beautiful Tuscan city filled with Renaissance and Etruscan art that makes you feel at home. Evidently, you can spend a full day discovering Arezzo. Walking down every street, sitting down for a slow-paced Italian dinner. I know I’ll be back one day for that road trip through Tuscany I’m always dreaming of. To explore neighboring villages and run through Tuscan hills before returning to Arezzo. Until then, I’ll cherish the memories we made on that sunny September day!

street in arezzo
woman walking down the street in arezzo
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