Indeed, 'La Vita e' Bella', life is beautiful here in Tuscany! We leave our hotel under a cloudy sky that promises rain. On the way to Arezzo, the sky turns really dark and it starts pouring. Just as we get to the walls of this historical city in Tuscany, the clouds dissolve and the sun comes out bright and warm. What a great start for our guided tour of Arezzo!
Alina – our tour guide for Arezzo – meets us right outside the walls of the city. We can’t wait to see the piazze, bars and alleys of Life Is Beautiful - the Oscar winning movie that made Mr. Benigni famous all over the world.
Like Cortona, Arezzo has plenty of art and history in display. The 13th century crucifix by Cimabue inside church of San Domenico gives us a first taste of the geniality of this famous artist. The crucifix stands alone in a single nave that makes it look like an apparition. It is hard to place it in a specific time period since its colors are so bright it could be the work of an expressionist artist. From there, we move to the church of Saint Francis in Arezzo where the frescos by Piero Della Francesca are truly spectacular. Legends, history and myths entwine in vivid colors and images that evoke ancestral memories and emotions. No wonder Stendhal got a syndrome named after him while he was traveling in Tuscany!
Moving from the artsy and holy to the purely profane: in Piazza Grande we see a famous Italian politician followed by his bodyguard and a flashy lady wearing 9’ stilettos. She is loudly tiptoeing over the uneven terracotta pavement trying to keep up with his fast pace while the stilettos get stuck with each step. Not a good idea to choose fashion over comfort in a historical city...
Hordes of kids wait patiently for their gelato at the best gelateria sul corso / ice cream parlor on main street. We happily join them for a delicious cono.