Church of St. Maria della Pieve

In the heart of Arezzo, a short distance from our B&B, stands the Church of Santa Maria della Pieve, an architectural marvel in the Romanesque style. This building, older than the Cathedral itself, bears witness to centuries of history and devotion. With its richly decorated facade and characteristic bell tower known as the "Tower of a Hundred Holes," the Pieve offers us a o unique look at architecture, art, and the history of faith.
Santa Maria della Pieve - Chiesa di Santa Maria - Church of Santa Maria della Pieve - Pieve

The church of St. Maria della Pieve, older than the Cathedral , is just a few minutes’ walk from our B&B. It is undoubtedly one of the most majestic places of worship, as well as one of the oldest Romanesque pievi present in Tuscany. In fact, the Pieve dates back to a period between the 12th and 14th centuries.

The Restoration

The most significant restoration took place in the 19th century. This made it possible to establish its exact origins thanks to the discovery of remains of marble monuments, sculpture fragments, mosaic floors as well as a small church inside it dating back to the early Middle Ages.

Church of St.Maria della Pieve: main features

The exterior facade, in Romanesque style, is very original. The wonderful facade was enriched in the 13th century by blind arcades resting on columns with Corinthian capitals and three orders of loggias above.

In the arcades are noted representations of the months of the year and of field work, the colors of which are partly original (ca. 1210 A.D.) . The lunette above the main portal has a relief representing an image of the Madonna with two Angels. In contrast, the lunette above the right portal houses Christ receiving Baptism from St. John surrounded by Angels.
The style of the loggia is unique as it has alternating shafts with different patterns among them , as are the capitals in the different orders of columns.
The bell tower dates back to the 14th century and stands 59 meters to the right of the facade. This tower is called the “Tower of a Hundred Holes” because it has as many as forty Romanesque mullioned windows divided into five distinct orders.

The ancient church of Santa Maria della Pieve is a place of Catholic worship, among the largest and most famous in all of Tuscany.

Some peculiarities

One of the peculiarities of the church of Santa Maria della Pieve is its location; in fact, it is accessed from a rather narrow street but its majesty is also affirmed in the well-known Piazza Vasari. In Piazza Grande in fact, one can admire the rear part consisting of sequences of blind arches. In the lower part by arches with columns different from each other among which it is possible to notice a broken one, a unique example in world architecture.

Inside, the Pieve has three orders of naves interspersed with pointed columns leading to a very large single apse, which houses the presbytery built over a crypt rebuilt in the 19th century.

St. Maria della Pieve: treasure chest of very important works

The Pieve , like a treasure chest, holds many very important works. The Polyptych painted by Pietro Lorenzetti for Bishop Guido Tarlati (Madonna and Child, Annunciation, Assumption) dated 1320 adorns the High Altar. A fresco with Saints Francis and Dominic dating from the 14th century and attributed to Andrea di Nerio adorns the walls of the church. A very important work is the gilded silver reliquary Bust of the patron saint of the city of Arezzo, St. Donatus, dating from 1346.

Construction the church

The construction of this building represents one of the earliest architectural examples of the Medieval period in Arezzo, and it began during the second half of the 12th century. This large church was built on the remains of another place of worship dating back to the year 1000.

Architectural remnants of the original church can be seen in the decoration of the doors located on the side of Via Di Seteria. Construction of the ancient church of Santa Maria della Pieve was not completed until the first half of the 14th century, with restoration and alterations occurring between the 16th and 19th centuries.

The Romanesque-style exterior facade was originally simple, but with the rise of the Pisan School it was modified with a series of blind arches resting on columns topped by Corinthian capitals.

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