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Bill Thayer

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Arezzo Province

A province of Tuscany. Area: 3232 sq. km. 2003 population: 326,000 in 39 comuni.

[image ALT: A low single-story Romanesque church of irregular courses of small stone masonry with a tile roof pitched at about 30 degrees and a flat panel-type belfry of the kind known as a 'campanile a vela' with two arches under which hang the bells. It sits in a small hollow of grass framed by five pine trees, against a backdrop of tall hills, and we are seeing it from the rear, which forms a typical shell-shaped apse. In the background toward the left, intimations of a small stone village, over which rises a very prominent square tower. It is a view of the church and castle of S. Biagio in Pierle, Tuscany (central Italy).]

The castle of Pierle and the 11c church of S. Biagio.

One of the larger provinces of Tuscany, Arezzo province, at 101 inhabitants per square kilometer, is also one of the more sparsely populated: only Siena and Grosseto are wilder; and if I know the area better than I do the rest of Tuscany, it's for the same reason: this easternmost province of the region is starting to snuggle up against the Apennines, and I like my mountains. The visitor will therefore find sharper relief, forests, older churches, starker castles: not the manicured rolling vineyards that "Tuscany" might call to mind — nor, I would add, the crowds and the prices.

[image ALT: A steep upwards view of a tall stone building; the ground floor cannot be seen: we see three stories with arcades, each one of more tightly spaced slender columns; surmounted on the right by a 5‑story tower with two pairs of windows, each one in turn divided in two by a column. It is the church of S. Maria della Pieve in Arezzo, Tuscany (central Italy).]

Arezzo is for now represented by a chapter of George Dennis on its Etruscan history, two articles from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica (one on the modern city, one on the city in Roman times); and my diary entries, with photos, for my two visits.

[ 2/17/07: 5 pages, 10 photos — plus more in my diary ]

[image ALT: A town of several hundred mostly 3- and 4‑story buildings, that appears to be centered on a curving two-lane street girdling the side of a low hill to the right: several church belfries poke out of the rooftops, and to the left, a wide plain can be seen at some distance below. It is a view of Anghiari, Tuscany (central Italy).]

Anghiari, a much smaller town, I warmed to right away: it's a beautiful place with medieval houses, an interesting frescoed town hall, a good museum, and a fabulous view.

[ 6/26/04: 1 page, 1 photo — plus more in my diary ]

[image ALT: missingALT. It is a view of Pierle, Tuscany (central Italy).]

Pierle, tinier still, is a hamlet in the comune of Cortona. Such are the artistic and historical riches of Italy that the place, with maybe a hundred inhabitants if that, boasts not only a powerful, atmospheric ruined castle but a beautiful Romanesque church as well.

[ 5/27/05: 3 pages, 14 photos — plus more in my diary ]

Onsite link

Very minor, but a window onto rural Tuscany, also in the comune of Cortona: Madonnina near Mercatale — a wayside shrine to the Virgin Mary, one of many that dot the countryside of central Italy.

[ 1 page, 1 photo ]

[image ALT: Two sides of a large rectangular piazza bordered by long rectangular 3‑story buildings that look rather low because of the size of the square. It is a view of the main square of Sansepolcro, Tuscany (central Italy).]

I've been to Sansepolcro, and the little brick city in the plain, famous as the birthplace of Piero della Francesca, deserves a bit more of a site. While I sift thru the photos though, there's still just a bit of something onsite, plus the usual offsite links.

[2/13/07: 2 pages, 8 photos — plus more in my diary ]

The following is a list of the 36 comuni in the province, linked to whatever websites I've been able to find for them — in addition to whatever towns are represented, usually quite well, on the general sites in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page:

Anghiari • Arezzo • Badia Tedalda • Bibbiena • Bucine • Capolona • Caprese Michelangelo • Castel Focognano • Castel San Niccolò • Castelfranco Piandiscò • Castiglion Fiorentino • Castiglion Fibocchi • Cavriglia • Chitignano • Chiusi della Verna • Civitella in Val di Chiana • Cortona • Foiano della Chiana • Laterina • Loro Ciuffenna • Lucignano • Marciano della Chiana • Monte San Savino • Montemignaio • Monterchi • Montevarchi • Ortignano Raggiolo • Pergine Valdarno (now merged with Laterina, but the former website was still online in July 2018) • Pieve S. Stefano • Poppi • Pratovecchio Stia • S. Giovanni Valdarno • Sansepolcro • Sestino • Subbiano • Talla • Terranuova Bracciolini

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Site updated: 1 Jul 18