The Medici Fortress in Arezzo

In ancient times the Citadel was situated in the present area of the Fortress: it was called “Poggio di San Donato” and was defended by a surrounding wall inside which there were the City Hall, houses, towers and several churches including San Donato, which named the area. During XIV Century, when Arezzo ends up under Firenze domain, the residents give life to numerous revolts and both the defensive structure and the “Cassero”, suffering much damages, need reconstruction.

In 1502 Arezzo is definitively fell under Firenze and a new insurrection determines a drastic choice from the dominants of Firenze. Cosimo I orders the building of the Medici Fortress, a new structure which needs to be really inexpugnable.

The surrounding walls perimeter is more or less the one of the Citadel, but the work is realized following a much modern and effective military concept.

The job is committed to a renowned architect, famous in the realization of those works, Giuliano del Sangallo, who conceives the structure by virtue of the new technological and military evolution, such as firearms use.

Despite this the fortress has to be toughen during the years. To represent a better oversight, however, during its realization, all the buildings present in a wide range are cut down, especially to free space for the artillery fire.

So many buildings like the City Hall, Tarlati’s palace and other religious areas disappear, such as San Martino’s church, which had to find near the current City Hall, and the San Matteo’s church mentioned by Vasari.

The star-shaped structure with five bastions, which dominate the city from the top still look strong, technically advanced today and particularly extended. The first bastion, summit  of the structure, was called “La Spina”, because peak-shaped;  the second “Belvedere” for its panoramic views, and the third, the bastion “della Chiesa” because there was San Donato’s church, then “Ponte di Soccorso” and the last “Diacciaia”.

The fortress remained efficient until 1782. In 1800, Napoleon’s soldiers to punish Arezzo’s rebels, raided for days the city and tried to dismantle the military district: destroyed all buildings within the fortress, including San Donato’s church, then attempted to damage even the surrounding wall using mine. Fossombroni’s family acquired the fortress in the middle of 1800.  In 1893, for testament of Count Enrico, became the possession of the Municipality. It was adapted like garden and walk for the public with various works carried out in the period 1896-1904.

Inside one of the bastions was found a 14th century fortress door, adorned by an enormous statue of San Michele Arcangelo, now preserved in the city’s museums.

The fortress is currently in restoration, the exterior cladding is complete, the interior works are underway  and excavations in archeological site have unearthed the remains of San Donato’s church in Cremona, dating back to the year 1000.

It’s possible to do a guided tour to the rediscovery of the Medici’s Fortress in Arezzo, every Sunday morning at 10.30. The tour lasts about 1 hour and the price of the ticket is Euro 5 per person ( free for children up to 6 years).

For all the details and bookings contact [email protected] or +390575845348.

To spend a beautiful holiday immersed in the history of the city of Arezzo take a look to the many vacation villas and apartments in Arezzo.

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