Incisa in Val D’Arno: Part VI, Excursion to Arezzo

After riding on Sunday (read about it here), I needed something to eat. As it was Sunday, the only supermarket open was the huge Coop, and it had already closed. I decided to drive around and see what else was available. I ended up deciding to continue all the way to Arezzo. Now, I studied abroad in Florence for a month in 2007, and I took a few trips outside the city one weekend. Two friends and I went to two smaller towns on Saturday and two more on Sunday. I could tell you three of the four towns we went to (Pistoia, Cortona, Lucca) and could remember two well enough (Lucca because I went a second time two years later and Pistoia for god knows what reason). But I couldn’t say which of the other memories I had was of Cortona, or even what city the last memory was of.

Well, I quickly found out that the last city I had visited was Arezzo. So, here I was again, this time arriving by car.

The last time I had been to Arezzo I was taking a black and white film photography class. I had gone on a trip to Barcelona and lost my digital camera on the way back (losing, in the process, photos of a double rainbow over the Ponte Vecchio. Oh the agony!). Because of this, all the photos I took during these trips were on film in black and white. I was also doing everything on manual. Unfortunately, most of my photos did not turn out well. Of course, I felt that my photography skills must have been seriously lacking. Only later did I find out my lens was broken…

It was my lucky day! To arrive in a city I had been to before but this time armed with a much better camera and improved photography skills.


The first church I passed was the Basilica di San Francesco. I didn’t go in but can vaguely recall the interior. What I do know is that when I heard about the woman in Spain who decided to repaint a frescoe herself, I always imagined it to be in this church. I have no idea why.

I walked around the town and took photos to replace the ones I never really had. It wasn’t nearly as hot as the last time I had been there. It is always interesting to me to walk around a city I’ve visited before. My memory works spatially, so by walking through a city I am able to recall memories I didn’t know I had.

The one place I didn’t go due to memories was the fortress. The last time they had been preparing for a jousting tournament, and so had swords and lances and armor set out. I had a photo taken with one of the swords, which I was very excited about. (It, of course, didn’t turn out). I didn’t really want to see the fortress without the fun stuff.

The city itself felt much more cosmpolitan that it had the last time. Maybe in the intervening years tourism had really picked up there. I wasn’t expecting anything to be open since it was Sunday, but a good number of stores on the main drag were open. And they were much more fancy and high-end than what I recalled. Not to mention, even the cafe that I ate lunch at had free wifi. This is something I’ve never experienced in Italy before this trip!

The Palazzo della Fraternità dei Laici on the Piazza Grande

Stairs of the Palazzo dei Laici with Santa Maria della Pieve in the background.

Facade and bell tower of Santa Maria della Pieve.

Inside the Vasari Loggia on the Piazza Grande with art instalation.

The Benigni film Life is Beautiful was filmed in Arezzo. The last time I was here, there were signs posted around the city showing scenes from the movie and giving a short explanation. They are no longer there, and this post is the only remanent.

Looking down the street at the bell tower of Santa Maria della Pieve.

Spire of the Duomo.

The previous time, this park was filled with high school students having a huge water fight with water from the nearby fountain. It was that hot.

Categories: Florence, Italy, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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