March 29, 2016 – Arezzo

(Internet back up in the morning!)

This will be a short entry due to the terrible Internet at the hotel. I have managed to transfer a few pictures from my phone to my iPad and will attempt to write a post from here. Doing it on a computer keyboard is so much easier!

Our main goal here is to see Piero Della Francesca’s fresco cycle, The Legend of the True Cross. We arrive at the church of San Francesco and get in immediately and although they tell us we can only stay for half an hour no one shooes us out. We are in the church for an hour enjoying the PDF frescoes as well as other early ones.

Altar area with The Legend of the True Cross by Piero Della Francesca
Altar area with The Legend of the True Cross by Piero Della Francesca
Central panel shows St. Helena identifying the true cross by raising a young man from the dead.
Central panel shows St. Helena identifying the true cross by raising a young man from the dead.

After this we stop in to see the Cathedral San Donato. It is at the top of a really steep hill and we are totally winded before we see that now we have to climb all these stairs! My Fitbit registered that by the end of the day I had gone up 37 flights of stairs – a new record! Inside there is a beautiful marble altar, some early paintings and a fresco of a saint. He obviously has been through something horrible but we don’t know who it is.

Cathedral of St. Donato, Arezzo with tiny Sarah in front
Cathedral of St. Donato, Arezzo with tiny Sarah in front
Marble altar in the cathedral
Marble altar in the cathedral
Unknown saint
Unknown saint

Next we visited the Museum of Medieval and Contemporary Art. Of course we are only interested in art prior to the 17th century. So right off the bat I do something naughty. There is this stone which is inscribed with two peacocks from the 10th century. Ooh, the 900’s, I need to touch this! So I just very lightly touch it with my index finger. Another old thing I have touched! And did not get caught! Sarah and John are of course appalled.

Two peacocks from the 10th century
Two peacocks from the 10th century

There’s also a great Madonna and Child painted in 1262 by Margarito di Arezzo. (And no, I didn’t touch it!) Margarito has signed his work! There are very few signed pieces from the 13th century.

Madonna and Child by Margarito di Areezzo 1262
Madonna and Child by
Margarito di Arezzo 1262
Actually signed by the artist!
Actually signed by the artist! “Made by Margarito”

A couple of days ago we went to the Piero della Francesca (PDF) exhibition in Forli. Roberto Lounghi claimed in his 19th century book that PDF was a founding father of Renaissance painting and probably he was. But here are three Madonna della Misericordia painted before his. The first one here is especially reminiscent of PDF’s painting.

Madonna Misericordia,1414 Giovanni d'Agnolo di Balduccio
Madonna della Misericordia, 1414, Giovanni d’Agnolo di Balduccio
Madonna Misericordia, 1435-1437, Parri di Spinello
Madonna della Misericordia, 1435-1437, Parri di Spinello
Madonna Misericordia, 1456, Neri di Bicci
Madonna della Misericordia, 1456, Neri di Bicci

Time for lunch! We eat at a fairly fancy place at the Piazza Grande. Sarah has the prettiest dish, tortellini and fresh peas.

Sarah's lunch is the prettiest, tortellini con piselli!
Sarah’s lunch is the prettiest, tortellini con piselli!

After a brief siesta we are back to sightseeing. Arezzo is home to Guido Monaco or Guido d’Arezzo, the father of modern musical notation.

Sarah in front of the statue of Guido Monaco
Sarah in front of the statue of Guido Monaco
Mary and Sarah in front of the statue of Guido Monaco
Mary and Sarah in front of the statue of Guido Monaco
Mary and John in front of the statue of Guido Monaco
Mary and John in front of the statue of Guido Monaco

Lastly we visit the Basilica of San Domenico. We stopped here earlier but there was a funeral going on so we thought they probably wouldn’t want us in there oohing and aahing over the old art. There’s a lot of great old frescoes here as well as a Cimabue crucifix.

Basilica of San Domenico
Basilica of San Domenico
Saints performing miracles and getting martyred
Saints performing miracles and getting martyred
Cimabue crucifix, 1268
Cimabue crucifix, 1268

After our big lunch we decide to just have some Tuscan appetizers in a street cafe.

Bread and Tuscan appetizer plate
Bread and Tuscan appetizer plate

Looks like Mary and Sarah have had enough picture taking for today!

The end of the day - some people are tired of having their pictures taken!
The end of the day – some people are tired of having their pictures taken!

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s