Arezzo is the largest town in west Tuscany and an ideal base for discovering this most medieval corner of the region.
The city sits on a shallow slope overlooking the flood plain of the Arno river as it flows from the Casentino Valley to meet the Val di Chiana.
Its origins go back to Etruscan times and the 4th century BC and it has always been a meeting point and natural crossroads.
The old pilgrim routes now make interesting walking tours and the Arezzo Tourism Board have developed 6.
They are: The Adoration of the Virgin Mary, The Camaldoli Route, The Romea Route, St Francis' Footsteps, The Romanic churches Route and Abbeys and Monasteries.
All of them are located along the Casentino area overlooked by the National Park of the Casentinesi Forest.
Some salient facts:
In 205 BC Arezzo offered Scipio enough arms and agricultural equipment to supply 40 battle ships and 120,000 grain containers for his battle with Carthage
The rich Aretino society of the 13th century was divided between the bickering Guelfs and the Ghibelines. The Guelfs were supported by the Fiorentines who defeated the Ghibelines at Campaldino in 1289, helped by none other than that man Dante.
Michelangelo was born in nearby Caprese in 1475.