The Piazza Grande is the central square of Arezzo. It has a distinct shape and is surrounded by some of the city’s most beautiful churches and palaces. The biggest attraction in this square is the Santa Maria della Pieve Basilica. The Piazza Grande is sometimes called Piazza Vasari.
Piazza Grande Arezzo
The Piazza Grande is located where the Roman Forum used to be. Its surface is sloping, with a difference of no less than about 10 meters between its highest and lowest points, and has a trapezoid shape.
It was constructed around the year 1200, although it was then called Platea Comunis, From the 13th century it has been the political, social and religious center of Arezzo.
The buildings flanking the square are characterized by a multitude of different styles.
What to see
The most striking attraction is the Santa Maria della Pieve Basilica, which is built in a Romanesque style. What is somewhat unusual is that it is not the facade, but the apse of the church, which can be seen on the side of the main square.
The Palazzo del Tribunale is located on the same side as the church, but its architectural style is Baroque. Its most striking feature is the semi-circular staircase.
The Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici is part Gothic and part Renaissance . The “brotherhood of the laity” after which the palace is named was founded in 1262 by a group of Domenicans. The clock tower was not added until the 16th century. The clock indicates both hours and lunar times and datesback to 1552.
The Palazzo delle Logge stands on the north side and was built by Vasari in 1573. The space underneath its loggia is occupied by stores.
Palazzo Lappoli is actually made up of a number of different buildings, all different heights, seemingly connected by a wooden gallery.
The Palazzo Cofani-Brizzolari is a casa-torre (“tower house”). The Torre Faggiolana was originally a stand-alone structure and was only added to the house later. The building was restored in the 1930s.
The public fountain in Piazza Grande dates back to the 16th century.
The column on the north side is a copy of the one to which public announcements used to be attached.
Some of the medieval buildings facing the square were restored in the 20th century.
The Piazza Grande is the square on which many scenes in the famous Oscar-winning film “La Vita è Bella” are set.
Giostra del Saracino
Every year in the Piazza Grande the so-called Giostra del Saracino is held, a tradition that harks back to Arezzo‘s medieval history. It is somewhat reminiscent of the more famous Palio in Siena and includes horsemen galloping around the square and a large parade in medieval costumes.
Every first Sunday of the month (and the preceding Saturday), a famous antique market takes place in Piazza Grande.