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Piazza Grande

Piazza Grande-photo: http://italophiles.com

The actractive scenario of the Giostra del Saracino (Joust of the Saracen) in the heart of the medieval city. Its unusual shape - trapezoid, with an strongly sloping surface - occupies the lower part of the old platea communis, which dates back to about 1200 and had a much wider perimeter than the current square.

It was dominated, at the higher end, by the Palazzo del Comune (of which only a few traces remain at the end of via Pellicceria) and the Palazzo del Popolo, whose ruins are visible at the top of via dei Pileati, incorporated in the walls that hold up the embankment of the Prato.

During the sixteenth century, after the first of the two public buildings had been left gradually to fall apart, the other had been radically knocked down and the defence system of the town had been totally changed, the square was reduced to its current size by the construction, on the northeast side, of Vasari's palazzo delle Logge.

This is the most important change that has been made to the medieval structure of the square. The other three sides, where the alteration made to the buildings through the course of time have been less radical, offer a harmonious synthesis of Tuscan architecture from the 13th to the 18th centuries. On the southeast and southwest sides, there is a series of buildings containing private residences; the northwest side, situated between via di Seteria and via G.Vasari, is completely occupied by the apse of the Pieve of S.Maria, the Palazzo del Tribunale and the Palazzo di Fraternita.

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Piazza Grande 18, 52100 Arezzo (AR)
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