By Dana Curatolo
If you’re searching for a local approach to Italy, and cultural immersion with all the bells and whistles of iconic Tuscany, you must head to Arezzo. During my first trip there in 2009, I didn’t want Florence (too many students) and I didn’t want Siena (still too many students), so I settled upon Tuscany’s third largest city. It is a humble place and not particularly picturesque when you first approach the city. Its train station is at the base of the city and creates a certain level of grittiness. However, venture five minutes up Via Roma until you reach Corso Italia (which is the main pedestrian road that leads to the historic center of the village), hang a left and you’re in Eastern Tuscan heaven.
I was staying right off Piazza Grande– the crown jewel of Arezzo. Again, this is why I loved it there so much. In a region where tourists typically smack right into a glorious piazza upon visiting, Arezzo makes you work just a little harder for it. It’s built on a slant, so there’s certainly some climbing involved, but when you reach the top, boy is it worth it. The piazza is a focal point to its famed antiques fair, which occurs the first Sunday and the preceding Saturday of each month. It’s an art hub; Arezzo is a stop along the trail of Piero della Francesca, along with Sansepolcro, Monterchi and Urbino. Along with antiquities, it is also a hub for gold production and a great place to buy local jewelry. It is a minefield for wine bars, osterias and local butchers. The people are friendly, the food is delicious and it’s an overall joyous place. Its historic charm paired with gritty edginess really amplifies Arezzo’s likeability. Since 2009, I have returned to Italy three separate times, and still, it is my favorite.
Eat: Il Cantuccio and Osteria Brancaleone
About the Writer
Dana Curatolo is a NYC-based travel publicist. When she’s not helping promote new hotels, emerging destinations and culinary hot spots, she’s traveling for fun— usually for the food. Check out her blog at danacuratolo.tumblr.com
Photo by torremountain