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Arezzo

News

Arezzo Roman amphitheatre: why visit it

Jewels to admire for those who are in the city of gold

Arezzo is one of the most fascinating Tuscan cities but certainly less well known than places like Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca that with their fame perhaps obscure it, unfairly. Discovering the beauties of this city means getting to know artists like Giorgio Vasari and Piero della Francesca who not only were born there but also linked their lives to Arezzo and its region.

Here pulsates the heart of Tuscany,its magic, its atmosphere, its art and its well-known gastronomy, it does so in a natural way, without forcing. The loggia of Piazza Grande,the frescoes of the Basilica of St. Francis, the Cathedral of San Donato, the Casa Museo di Vasari are not the only attractions to visit, but there is one that more than others deserves the attention of tourists: theRoman amphitheatre that finds space in the southern part of the city, between Crispi Street and Via Margaritone.

Built in the 1st century AD with sandstone and bricks, it could hold from 8,000 to 10,000 people. Over the centuries the structure of the Roman amphitheatre of Arezzo has gradually undergone inevitable transformations.

The first exploration dates back to 1914-15, but excavations were suspended due to the outbreak of World War I, and resumed in 1926. Its structure has an elliptical shape with bleachers on two orders and with a largearena,so much so that it is second only to the Colosseum,considering it measures precisely 71.9 x 42.7 meters compared to 77 x 46.5 meters of the largest amphitheatre in the world.

 

Amphitheatre and archaeological museum

The ancient history of the amphitheatre and its importance led to the creation of the Archaeological Museum of Arezzo that was built in the part of the structure that used to house the Olivetan Convent. Here you can find several testimonies from the various public buildings,churches and other private collections that were already gathered in a public collection. To this were added the finds of excavations dating back to the 800 and 900 that allowed to appreciate elements such as the pots in the earth sealed aretina, but not only.

The archaeological museum of Arezzo inside is organized on several floors: on the ground floor there are the Etruscan and Roman sections, on the first floor instead the special sections and the various collections. There is no shortage of important collections involving prominent figures in the city, among them the Gamurrini and the Mushrooms that in the 1800s greatly affected the cultural life of the Tuscan city.

The Roman amphitheatre of Arezzo has suffered several looting over the years and some of the material has been used to make some religious buildings, such as the St. Bernard Monastery built in the 16th century in the southern hemicycle.

 

The most important architectural elements

First, the archaeological site has a major axis measuring 121 meters and a smaller axis measuring 68 meters.

As already mentioned, the amphitheater is elliptical in shape with bleachers placed on two orders. Today you can still see the audience and the remains of the ambulatory,that is, the covered corridors.

The porch has now practically disappeared even though there are still the two main accesses to the ends of the longitudinal axis and the two secondary at the cross axis.

The ambulatorys were imposed two bands interrupted by vomiting (i.e. the typical entrances of Roman theaters and amphitheaters) and by entrances with stairs realize, alternating, around the ellipse. Today, different parts remain of these structures, but clearly not all of them. There are still the remains of the cavea buildings, but the bleachers have completely disappeared.

The wall belt measures 24.7 meters.

The vaults of the corridors were made in opus coementicum, that is, in mortar mixed with coementa which is nothing but tufa stone or silica. For the wall coatings, theopus mixtum is used, which is a mix of squares arranged in long oblique rows that are called opus reticulatum and rows, vittae, rectangular tufles alternated with brick surfaces that are instead called opus vittatum.

The internal stairs were made of travertine on the outside, the amphitheater instead is covered with local sandstone.

And it is precisely because of its ancient history that the Roman amphitheatre is one of the many attractions not to be missed in Arezzo, especially for its atmosphere and for the magic that can still be breathed inside today.

 

We look forward to visiting these magical places again. For now, we'll let you know.

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