Friday, June 5, 2015

Off The Beaten Path: Arezzo

"We won! We got a thousand points and we won the game! Daddy and me came in first and now we won the real tank! We won! We won!" Giosuè Orefice, Life is Beautiful

This one is for movie lovers.  A couple of years ago, I was returning to Rome from a trip to northern Italy when my sons all of a sudden were starving! This is how it goes with teenage boys, you never get a notice of someone being a little hungry, you go from zero to starving in two seconds.  We decided to stop for lunch at the next town, whatever it might be.  After all, we were in Italy, and you never have a bad meal in Italy!  The next sign on the highway read Arezzo.

As we navegated this town, I found it extremely charming and even a little bit familiar.  While I read one of the signs with descriptions of the city square, my heart started racing as I realized the Oscar-winning movie "Life is Beautiful" was filmed in Arezzo.  No wonder it looked familiar!

I love "Life is Beautiful", if you haven't seen this heart-warming film, I highly recommend it!  It's a masterpiece of Italian cinematography.  The Academy agrees.   The famous phrase "Buongiorno Principessa" (Goodmorning princess) that you'll see adorning many Italian souvenirs,  is a quote from this film (watch the trailer here)

Arezzo is an Etruscan town and after visiting Florence and Milan with their extravagant cathedrals, the churches in Arezzo are a breath of fresh air, being their beauty their simplicity, especially the Church of Saint Francis (San Francesco). 

If you go coo-coo for ceramics make sure to stop at Aretè on Piazza Grande.  They have a wonderful selection of high relief terracotta sculptures and unique souvenirs that will remind you of your time in beautiful Tuscany.  Of course I had to ask the lady at the store for a restaurant recommendation, she sent me to Antica Osteria L'Agania.  The meal I had there was absolutely delicious.  Try their pappardelle al Cinghiale (flat long pasta with wild boar red sauce).

Between being the backdrop to an Oscar winning film, wonderful tuscan terra-cotta art, beautiful churches and amazing cuisine, Arezzo has enough charm to make it a great addition to your itinerary.  If you are not one to fight a million other tourists and want to see Italy beyond Rome, Venice and Florence,  visit Arezzo and you will not be disappointed.  Lastly, if you time your visit right and happen to be there on the first Sunday of the month, you'll be greeted by its famous antiques market

I was so mesmerized by Arezzo that I have been back a couple of times since my first hungry stop.  I hope you have a chance to visit this wonderful town too.

And that is all for now.  Arrivederci,

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