The Province of Arezzo is a province quite different from all the other provinces in Tuscany. One reason is certainly its geogrphical position towards north-east, between the Casentino, the Val di Chiana and the Valtiberina, far, nearly isolated from the other provinces, on the border to the Marks and Umbria. Another reason that makes Arezzo so different from the other Tuscan towns is that it has conserved its Etruscan origins until these days.
The town of Arezzo rises on a gentle hill, where on the highest point is situated the gothic cathedral and the Medici foretress. Historical personalities have left their traces in this town such as the poet Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), Piero della Francesca (1416-1492) and its frescoes in the church of San Francesco as well as Giorgio Vasari (1511-1572), great architect and constructor of the Uffizi in Florence.
Arezzo has today about 95.000 inhabitants, who mainly live from handicraft, already developed bz the Etruscans and Romans. Infact, they made Arezzo famous for pottery and metals. Even today, the town is renowned for the production of gold jewels. Furthermore, Arezzo is well-known for the Antique Market that takes place on the Piazza Grande and in the surrounding streets every first Sunday of each month and the day before. Another important manifestation is the Giostra del Saracino that takes place on the second-last Sunday in June and on the first Sunday in September: a real medieval tournament, where all four town quarters take place.
The Etruscans colonized this hill in the 7th century B.C. There, where today is situated the gothic cathedral, the founded in the 5th century B.C. the town of Arretium. One century later were built the city walls. In this circumscribed area can be found the Medici fortress, the gothic cathedral and the Piazza Grande. For the Romans, Arezzo had an important strategic position, as from the hills it was possible to observe nearly the whole Arno Valley, the Val Tiberina and towards south the Valdichiana. The town formed an alliance and around 200 a.C. it had a period of great splendour. Being episcopal feud after the fall of the Roman Empire, under the domination of the bishop and marquis Guido Tarlati it reached the peak fo the economic growth. After Tarlati’s death, loosing the predominat position, the town was handed over to Florence. From 1538 until 1560, Francesco Sangallo built for Cosimo de’ Medici the imposing town wall that until these days has been well conserved.