"Nothing more is needed in life than the unnecessary." — Life Is Beautiful
Buongiorno from Arezzo, Italy! This beautifully charming city of about 100,000 inhabitants is only an hour from Florence, and I'm here at the invitation of the Tuscany tourism office to participate as a Buyer in this year's Buy Tuscany travel event. You may recall I attended this event two years ago when it was held in Lucca, Italy. It's a great travel show full of appointments hyper-local travel partners around the region including hotels, tour operators, and local tourism offices.
Yesterday I enjoyed a delightful three hour walking tour of Arezzo, which has maintained its medieval village feel inside its well-preserved walls surrounding the city - as you can see in the photo above. Our knowledgeable guide highlighted the main attractions beginning with the San Domenico Basilica and its groundbreaking (for the time) crucifix by the Florentine painter Cimabue. We visited the main squares and palaces, strolled through a pretty park in early autumn colors to the walls of the impressive Medici Fortress that protected Arezzo, plus got an art history lesson inside Arezzo Cathedral where our guide was passionate about the extraordinary artistry of the stained glass windowns by Guillaume De Marcillat. We meandered through narrow streets of authentic shops where I tried the local pecorino cheese (delizioso!), bought a super cute, dark pink Tessilnova wool hat at Marcello Gallorini Cashmere, and discovered excavated Roman roads of mosaics when our guide led us into a clothing boutique called Sugar. The shop is housed in a renovated palazzo, with a few rooms inside preserved to reveal large sections of the old road below a glass floor so you can walk along it too, just inches above. We ended our tour in Piazza Grande, literally Arezzo's "large square," and learned how much of the Oscar-winning film Life is Beautiful was filmed right there. We all agreed we need to rewatch it now!
Today will be filled with appointments, and then for the next two days, I'll be taken on a fantastic tour to see new parts of Tuscany including the city of Montecatini, a UNESCO World Heritage city that's like an open-air museum of Liberty Style pieces of art and architecture. I'm looking forward to its Art Nouveau and contemporary art museum. We're also visiting the villages of Buggiano Castello, Pescia, and also Collodi, the birthplace of Carlo Lorenzini, who wrote Pinocchio. We'll be entering Pinocchio Park, which also has gorgeous gardens. Then we arrive at the thermal spas of Grotta Giusti, which we are all excited to experience, especially at the end of these very full days.
For your next trip to Italy, let's include off the beaten track finds like these Tuscan towns that are so captivating. It's a great joy to find these places for you, and I know you'll love discovering them too!
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