The Prato Park
With its location in the upper historic center and the gentle skyline, namely the Medici Fortress that towers above it and from which it has access, the Parco del Prato is undoubtedly one of the most striking places to visit in Arezzo and offers our Bed & Breakfast guests moments of stupendous relaxation and peaceful quiet. It was made a public garden as early as the 19th century, as evidenced by the centuries-old trees present. Prominent among them is the curious “fallen” pine tree at the foot of the entrance to the Fortress. Tourists and Aretines themselves still appreciate the green area, and they often choose it as a privileged venue for events and performances.
During the first weekend in September, when the Joust of the Saracen borrows Piazza Vasari, the Prato is the setting for the monthly Antiques Fair. Strolling among the stalls filled with the past, shaded by thick foliage and lulled by the distant sound of drums, has the magical flavor of suspended time from centuries past.
Reaching the Prato from the stairs of the Cathedral, one’s attention is enraptured by the statue by sculptor Alessandro Lazzerini, created in 1928: the statue is dedicated to Francesco Petrarca (who we recall was born in Arezzo itself in 1304). This is an imposing work shrouded in greenery, behind which is hidden the small slope leading to the aforementioned Medici remains.
The Medici Fortress
Just a few steps away from our Bed & Breakfast in the center of Arezzo, right after the Parco del Prato, another precious corner is therefore hidden, a pleasant and impressive discovery for tourists visiting our small but characteristic city: the sixteenth-century Medicean Fortress, an enchanting stronghold located in the heart of Arezzo’s historic center.
Like any other building used to defend the city, our fortress has suffered damage and destruction over time. The first trace of an Arezzo fortress dates back to 1319. Under the name Cassero di San Donato, a fortification was precisely erected around the city perimeter. However, the riots led in 1343 against Bishop Guido Tarlati resulted in its complete destruction.
Rebuilt around 1344, it remained intact for forty years, that is, until 1384, when French troops attempted to demolish it, finally succeeding in 1398. The fortress had to wait for the intervention of the Florentines in charge of the city to be rebuilt. It also resisted attacks by the Aretines in 1502.
The military construction visible today, pentagonal in shape, partly reflects the old Florentine design (although the plan of the time was trapezoidal). This is because Cosimo de’ Medici entrusted its construction to Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and Nanni Unghero between 1538 and 1560. These respected the designs of Giuliano and Antonio da Sangallo, earlier designers.
In particular, the remains of the old fortress include the remains of the Ponte di Soccorso bridge and the church placed on the eastern part, as well as signs of the 19th-century French explosions.
In the mid-19th century, the Fossombroni family bought the fortress and left it to the Municipality of Arezzo in 1893; maintenance work thus began, thanks to which it was possible to find part of the 14th-century fortress in one of the bastions. These, together with the network of tunnels, hidden atriums, wells and air intakes, are signs of a military typology that was decidedly avant-garde for the time.
An evocative place of public promenade, the Medicean Fortress has returned to visit after a new restoration. Among the curiosities, these latest archaeological excavations have unearthed a beautiful mosaic, the ancient floor of a Roman-era building, and the remains of the 11th-century church of San Donato in Cremona.
Once again the Fortress can welcome its visitors with its mighty structure and the magnificent view from it. We therefore recommend a quick visit to this beautiful corner of the center of Arezzo, perhaps to rest between museums.
Staying near the Medici Fortress of Arezzo
Imagine waking up in the heart of Arezzo, at the B&B Antiche Mura. Just outside the door, the Parco del Prato invites you for a relaxing morning stroll that, in short order, takes you directly to the foot of the historic Medicean Fortress. This ancient stronghold, with its imposing presence, represents a bulwark of the past standing in the present. The fortress offers us incomparable panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside, with landscapes that seem to come straight out of a poem from the 1200s.
After exploring the fortress, the alleys and streets of the town of Arezzo await. A tour of the historic center might include iconic places such as Piazza Grande, with its Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici and its towers. Not to mention the Church of San Francesco with its famous frescoes by Piero della Francesca and, of course, the Cathedral of Arezzo. The city encompasses centuries of history and art, and every corner has something unique to offer.
The Medici Fortress: in the heart of Arezzo, a stone’s throw from the B&B Antiche Mura
For those who wish to immerse themselves in the magic of Arezzo, the B&B Antiche Mura is the ideal base. Strategically located at Piaggia del Murello 35, very close to the Cathedral, it allows you to enjoy the historical and cultural beauty of Arezzo to the fullest. Antiche Mura is not just a place to stay overnight: it is an open door to Arezzo’s heritage.
Thanks to its welcoming managers, their passion for the city and attention to detail and your needs, every stay becomes an unforgettable experience. So, between a visit to the Medicean Fortress, a stroll through the Old Town of Arezzo and a moment of relaxation in the greenery of the Parco del Prato of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Donato, treat yourself to a rejuvenating break at the B&B Antiche Mura.