The city of Arezzo extends itself around a hilly slope, surrounded by a plain; its development has been facilitated by location that historically has always crossed the main roads, therefore encouraging its first plan role in the commercial exchanges.
The most prestigious economic resource is the work of precious metals: in April of each year takes place, in the Centre for Business and Conventions, Gold Arezzo, a very important international exhibition and collection fair of goldsmith’s art, silverware, jewellery, precious stones and corals.
Arezzo, the antique Arretium, preserves in a necropolis on “Poggio del Sole” some Etruscan rests that can be dated back to the end of the 6th century before Christ: vases, ceramics (Archaeological Museum of Arezzo) and the two bronzes of the Chimera and the Minerva (nowadays at the Archaeological Museum of Florence). During the roman period, the minister and adviser of August, Gaio Cilnio Emendate, gave the input for a relevant artistic and economic progress of the area.
Afterwards, around the year one thousand was constituted the free Commune of Arezzo, which frontiers of hegemony were matching with a good approximation the frontiers of the actual province. Among the most antique of our peninsula, the University of the City contributed, together with the impulse given by the poetry of Guittone d’Arezzo and of Francesco Petrarca who was born here in 1304 after Christ, to the cultural growth of the Commune.
In 1289 AC, with the defeat of the Ghibellines of Arezzo in Campaldino, a large area of land had to be given to Florence and Siena. The Episcopal power, in the hands of Guido Tarlati (since 1312 after Christ) gave a new light and prosperity, that was however interrupted by a profound political crisis (1327 – 1384), that ended twice in the loss of autonomy and in the submission to the government of Florence.
To Piero della Francesca in 1453 AC was ordered the cycle of frescoes of the choir of the church of San Francesco, known as the cycle of the Legend of the Real Cross. Contemporary was the work of artists such as the humanist Leonardo Bruni, who wrote the famous History of Florence or the poet Pietro Aretino. The 16th century is based on the figure of the eclectic Giorgio Vasari, historian of art (“The lives of the most excellent Italian architects, painters and sculptors”), architect (“Palazzo delle Logge” in piazza Grande), painter and figure of reference in the artistic life of Tuscany. Guglielmo da Marcillat, the French who adorned the Cathedral and the church of the SS. Annunziata, and Bartolomeo Ammannati, church of Santa Maria in Gradi, were called to come to Arezzo by the Vasari himself.
During this period the Grand Duke Cosimo de’ Medici ordered the destruction of the palazzo of the Commune and of the old Cathedral, in order to arrange again and to increase the defence of the urban settlement (around 1560): were built again the antique Fortress and also a new fortified boundary walls, that reached the considerable length of 4,2 km. In these years were built, in the upper part of the city, rich aristocratic houses (the palaces Fossombroni, Guillichini and Barbolani di Montauto) and the “Palazzo delle Logge del Vasari”, with its solemn structure that raises in “piazza Grande”. The 17th and 18thcenturies did not have the cultural, artistic, but also economic, magnificence of the precedent eras. Only during the 19th century Arezzo saw the affirmation of a painter born inside its walls: the neo classicist Pietro Benvenuti.
After the unification of Italy the city saw a renewed economic growth, especially of the entrepreneur’s class, which became concrete through the birth large manufacturing industries and of the main banks of the area. The demographic expansion and consequently the urban one, constituted the basis for the creation of infrastructures aimed at the preservation and better use of the marvellous historic centre. Since 1931 was again organised the medieval – knightly recalling of the Tournament of the Saracen which takes place every year on the second Sunday of June and on the first Sunday of September.