Arezzo is a quiet, off-the-beaten-path Italian hill town, with a striking main square and small, winding streets ripe for exploring. Here’s where to go on your Arezzo adventure!
A visit to Arezzo is a visit to ancient Italy. Its history goes deep into the BCs, and can be seen throughout town, whether it’s remnants of Etruscan walls guarding the city’s exterior or the 16th-century Medici Fortress built atop the highest point in Arezzo.
But unlike many busy, well-trodden historic sights in Italy, Arezzo gives off a quiet, dreamy vibe. It remains relatively undiscovered, meaning your photos won’t be filled with matching neon group tour shirts or throngs of segway tourists.
Now, if segways and group tours are your thing, that’s cool – but I can say confidently that Arezzo is not your scene. In fact, The Wanderlost Way may not be up your alley, either.
But, if experiencing ancient Italy in peace and quiet sounds appealing, then pack your bags — it’s time to go to Arezzo!
If you’ve read any of my central Italy guides, you know I’m a fan of the main squares. There’s no better place to sip an espresso (mmm!) while soaking in the city (yes!). But after visiting and experiencing half a dozen Tuscan and Umbrian squares, I can confidently say Arezzo’s is my favorite.
When we visited, we were one of, oh, five people in the square? Yes – the main square. That never happens!
And, as if the silence in the city square wasn’t captivating enough, the Piazza Grande in Arezzo also boasts an incredibly rare design: It’s built on a slant.
Most of the hill town squares were built on relatively flat ground, but not Arezzo. Its sharp grade, open layout and ubiquitous silence put the Piazza Grande at the top of my “town squares” list.
The Medici Fortress
Sure, the medieval architecture throughout the city is great for traveling back to ancient Italy, but if you really want to experience the Arezzo of old, climb up to the Medici Fortress. While the 16th-century fortress is no longer in working order, a quick wander around transports you further back in time — no time machine required!
The Medici Fortress is surrounded by a beautiful park that offers quiet, shaded benches for captivating views across Tuscany.
Know before you go
Like most hill towns in the Italian countryside, Arezzo is located atop a hill. A steep hill. A hill that might not have crossed your mind when putting on your fab new Italian leather shoes. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes to get you both up and down the side streets, and back to your form of transit, be it train or — as was our case — rental car.