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Arezzo, Arezzo

Tuscany, Italy, Europe: Arezzo's Piazza Grande
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Arezzo was the birthplace of Guido d'Arezzo, inventor of the musical scale, and medieval poet Petrarch, but these days it's most closely associated with out-of-town artist Piero della Francesca, whose magnificent, recently restored fresco cycle, The Legend of the True Cross, in the Basilica di San Francesco is one of the cornerstones of Italian Renaissance art. A reservation is obligatory, since only 30 people can enter the chapel every 20 minutes (; 39-0575-184-0000). You can also see Piero della Francesca's fresco of Mary Magdalene in the Gothic Duomo, while the church of San Domenico, just west of here, has an extraordinary crucifix by a young Cimabue (c.1260). The Romanesque Pieve di Santa Maria, with Pietro Lorenzetti's Madonna and Child with Saints, is a startling piece of architecture that backs onto the irregularly sloping Piazza Grande at the top of the town. This is where Arezzo's most important annual event, the Giostra del Saracino, a medieval jousting tournament, takes place in June and September; it's also the central hub of the sprawling Fiera Antiquaria antiques market on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month.

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