excavations in Arezzo

Directed by Dr.P.Zamarchi

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L'antica Strabo considered ancient Arezzo, built on the hills overlooking the valley of the Clanis, to be the Etruscan city that lay furthest inland. Thanks to its position, it formed a natural centre for the farming population scattered over the fertile Chiana Valley and possibly originally grew up as an outpost of Chiusi, during the major period of Etruscan expansion to the north (6th century B.C.). Although there is little archaeological data on the town, there are ample traces of many of the important sanctuaries that once contained famous "votive offerings", among them the famous bronze Chimera, today in the Archaeological Museum in Florence; these buildings were all decorated with extremely beautiful terracottas, carried out by a well known local school of pottery (Piazza San Jacopo, Via Roma, etc.). Surrounded by walls of great blocks of stone, the large necropolis of Poggio Sole, founded in the 6th century B.C. and in use until Roman times, shared the urban area.

Evidence of the notable economic prosperity enjoyed by Arezzo for the whole of the Hellenistic and the successive Roman age can be seen from the monumental buildings, like the powerful sanctuary of San Cornelio-Castelsecco, which stood outside the city and probably dates from the 2nd century B.C.; it was later was given an impressive scenographic setting thanks to the addition of a binomial theatre-temple, modelled on similar sanctuaries in Lazio.
Once it had become one of Rome's satellites and a "municipium", it was furnished with great public buildings, like the baths and the theatre, which stood near the Fortress, and the Forum, which probably stood somewhere between Porta Crucifera and Piazza Vasari; various residential areas have also recently been discovered in Piazza Vasari, Via Albergotti, Via dei Pescioni, Piazza Colcitrone, San Niccolò, Via Cesalpino, etc.
The 1st century A.D. marked one of the periods of greatest splendour of the city, thanks to the flourishing pottery industry; some splendid examples of this craft, marked with the Arezzo stamp, can be admired in the "Gaio Cilnio Mecenate" Archaeological Museum. Arezzo continued its expansion until it reached the slopes of the hills of San Pietro and San Donato (areas previously occupied by burial grounds and workshops), with Via Crispi and Via Guadagnoli at its extreme limits; a nymphaeum and the amphitheatre, which today contains the Archaeological Museum, were built here in the 2nd century A.D.

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