Tuscany Cooking Vacation: Visiting Arezzo
Hill towns are a large part of the Tuscan countryside landscape, and that includes the beautiful town of Arezzo, which is located on a steep hill that offers stunning panoramic views. But that's not the only reason to visit this Etruscan city -- with ruins dating back to the 5th century BC -- during a Tuscan cooking vacation.
Perhaps best known as the setting of the films "Life is Beautiful" and "The English Patient," this city is very walkable, allowing you to take in a variety of sights, such as the Piazza Grande and the House of Petrarch, where the poet once lived.
Like many Italian towns, the city is also populated with a variety of cathedrals, but what makes some of these churches unique is how they are decorated. Frescos by famed Early Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca abound here. In the Arezzo Cathedral, admire the fresco of Mary Magdalene. In the 14th century Chiesa di San Francesco, view the cycle of the Legend of the True Cross. These frescos can be seen during our trip "A Classic Tuscan Table with Chef Claudio," during a half-day excursion to Arezzo with a licensed guide who helped restore della Francesca's frescoes.
As for the gastronomy in this town, Arezzo is known for its acquacotta, a bread soup made of ribolitta and vegetables, especially porcini mushrooms and fried onions.
Arezzo can be visited during a number of our Tuscan cooking vacations, including the one with Chef Claudio. During "Italian Cooking at Casa Ombuto" -- which is actually located right outside Arezzo -- visitors have some time in town for sightseeing and shopping, as well as a visit to a wood restorer's workshop. A guided sightseeing tour of the city is also included with "Cook Under the Tuscan Sun."
By Liz Hall