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Visit Arezzo

Mona Lisa and the Buriano Bridge

Many years ago Buriano Bridge became famous as the Bridge in Leonardo's Mona Lisa. Leonardo Da Vinci knew this place really well. There are a lot of evidences that have permitted to the most famous international experts to establish that the landscape in the picture matches with Buriano Bridge and among these evidences there are some events in life of the tuscan genius.

In the summer of 1502, Leonardo da Vinci was called by Cesare Borgia as an army consultant. Amongs his tasks, he had to make a survay on the territory of the State that the Duke wanted to consolidate from Romagna to Tuscany. First of all he had to study the conditions of fortifications and of the roads network. The Windsor papers (so called because they are preserved In England into the Windsor Castle) are the tangible result of this work. With these papers, through an aerial representation of a bird flying, has givem an accurate geographical and military description of Arezzo's surroundings.

In these papers, that without doubts can be defined as masterpieces, Leonardo points out and draws the Buriano Bridge, that is really interesting to him not only for reasons binded to the commitment but also because the Bridge was in a Hydro-Geological system that had pushed him to dream of  a huge plumbing system to drain Valdichiana together with the marshy area around Arezzo to create a large basin of compensation for the Arno.

The Idea of such a project brought Leonardo to study the geological aspects of the basin of Arno in Arezzo's area, and this led him to discover the amazing landscape of the rocks named "Le Balze" in the Upper Valdarno.

Leonardo had in himself a soul of scientist and artist and his scientific and naturalistic researches generated such strong suggestions that have influenced all his artistic work. The backgrounds of Leonardo's paintings in that period (landscape and bridge are not only in "Mona Lisa" but also in "La Madonna de'Fusi") are not representative of an objective reality but they are the visual synthesis of the areal view of a wider territory. Leonardo choose to put behind the main persons the Arno plain with Buriano Bridge , as if we were overlooking from a little window in the little village named Monte Sopra Rondine while in the distance, in the background, he puts the suggestive rock formations typical of Valdarno area.


Curiosities about the Bridge

From 1317 the friars of Camaldoli, caring guardians of the Forests in Casentino, started to use the port of Pratovecchio (active until 1863) to send, through Arno, the timber  toward Florence , Pisa and Livorno.

Thanks to the extraordinary quality of the product, this commerce became growing. We are talking of 30 metres logs, very needed in the boatyards. There was a great demand for these special woods from the Grand Duke and even from the ones of English Majesty, for the fleet masts.

Aftrer the cutting down and the transport to the valley, the logs, once dragged into the water, were binded together to maje big rafts, called "Foderi". These rafts were leaded down the Arno from the "Foderatori" which, despite their ability, were not able to avoid the impacts against the Bridge shafts that often were used as support to go around the natural bend to the right of the river going on towards Florence.

During the Second World War, the Bridge was heading for a collapse, because it was completely mined and ready to explode. Fortunately it was saved by an incursion of the Allies that succedeed to avoid the fatal primer. 



Hotel Portici is just few steps from the train station and the bus station in Arezzo, in the middle of the Historic Center of Arezzo.

Moreover, Arezzo is well located , right in the center of the italian peninsula, and this implies the possibility of reaching in a short time places of remarkable imortance, beautiful landscapes, storic cities full of religious and artistic masterpieces .


From Arezzo is possible to reach a lot of wonderful places with comfortable day trips by train or bus:


Arezzo/Cortona: trains available every 30 min, buses available right to the center of Cortona in an hour.

 Arezzo/Pienza-Montepulciano: trains every 35min. + 5min by bus, you will be there in a hour.

Arezzo/ Firenze: trains every 30 min.

Arezzo/Perugia: trains every hour.

Arezzo/Siena: easily reachable by bus in a hour and 20min.

Arezzo/Pisa: trains every hour to the centre of Pisa. In one hour and 30min You get to Pisa Centrale. Pisa Airport is reachable from Pisa Centrale in 5min., with trains every half an hour.


If You travel without car, It will be easy and comfortable to visit every wonderful tuscan place! We are waiting for You in our Hotel!


Sleeping under a starry sky? At Hotel Portici, now You can!

"And I find myself still here, talking to the sky.
It has big arms and a smile that smells of sparks.
It's all dressed up, dressed in stars.
It's scary that this giant strokes my head, which looks at me and says nothing.
And I would like to count its stars, to know him better, to find a friend.
But how many are the stars? "

Giulia Carcasi, "But how many are the stars?"
And a wonderful sky dressed in stars, today can be found also at the Hotel Portici, in our Yellow Suite! In the dark, slowly as if by magic you'll see a beautiful starry sky ... to sleep, to forget the stress and to help wonderful dreams!
For more information: http://www.bluedreamitalia.com/

Giorgio Vasari in Arezzo - Works and "i Portici"

Giorgio Vasari in Arezzo - Works and "i Portici" - HOTEL PORTICI AREZZO****

To discover the works of the famous painter, architect, art historian and poet from Arezzo (in 2011 it's celebrated the fifth centenary of his birth), you can follow this route, which will lead you to admire the masterpieces by Vasari held in Arezzo.

The route begins in the Cathedral, where he worked from the 1530 and where are also the wooden stalls of choir by the artist. From the Cathedral you can enter in the Diocesan Museum, where you can see La Madonna della Misericordia and the Predica del Battista e il Battesimo di Cristo.

 In via XX Settembre is located the Vasari's House, decorated by himself. Here you can enjoy interesting works of art and imagine the life of the artist in the rooms of his home.

The visit continues in the State Museum of Medieval and Modern Art, where there are many works by Vasari, among which the most important is the painting: Nozze di Ester e Assuero dated 1549.

Not far from here stands the Church of SS Annunziata that houses a Deposizione by the artist. You reach the Church of the SS Trinità, or of the Misericordia, in Piazza del Popolo, to admire the work depicting the Trinity among the Santi Bernardo di Chiaravalle, Francesco e Agostino (1573). In piazza della Badia delle Sante Flora e Lucilla there is the church that bears the same name, designed by Vasari. In the center of the altar there is the work called Vocazione dei Santi Pietro e Andrea, and there are numerous other works.

On the north side of piazza Grande or piazza Vasari, one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, there is the wonderful Vasari's Palazzo delle Logge. This was designed by the architect in 1573 and is one of his most successful works.

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