Arezzo

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Leaving the church of San Francesco, we can turn right towards Corso Italia and walk up to the Pieve of S. Maria. This is one of the largest and most attractive Romanesque "pievi" (parish churches) in Tuscany. Then we can proceed by reaching Piazza Grande, heart and symbol of the medieval city and its public life. This square is famous most of all because here the attractive Giostra del Saracino takes place, but also because nowadays it has been often choosen as beautiful scenario for commercial advertising. This square is "accommodated" on a sloaping plane; in its northern side stands Vasari's Logge (Vasari was a painter,architect, historiographer and writer born in Arezzo in 1511),built in the late Reinassance period. The eastern and southern sides are flanked by Medieval palaces and houses like Palazzo Lappoli and Palazzo Cofani. The western side is taken up by the beautiful apse of La Pieve, the Law Courts and the Lay Fraternity Building. Going up from the northeast side where's the construction of Vasari's Palazzo delle Logge, we find on our left the Palazzo Pretorio (XIII-XIV centuries) which nowadays houses the library of the Town Hall, and a Medieval building held to be Francesco Petrarca's birthplace (1304) which now houses the Petrarca Academy of Letters, Arts an Sciences. We can now proceed by reaching the near Duomo. It was begun at the end of the 13th century on the site once occuped by a Paleo-Christian church dedicated to the martyr St. Peter and it was continued, with several interruptions, until the beginning of the 16th century. Its interior is divided into a nave and two aisles and it contains works of great artistic value, funerary monuments, frescoes, the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, the Main Chapel and the Chapel of S. Silvestro. In the left-hand aisle we can admire Piero della Francesca's mastepiece, the "Maria Maddalena" (1459 approx.), the choir Gallery designed by Vasari in 1535, the organ built by Luca Boni of Cortona in1534 and a fresco by Luigi Ademollo (early 19th century).