Monday, June 10, 2019

Tuscany Journal: Arezzo

"Santa Maria della Pieve" (drawing  by Hallie Cohen)

Arezzo is Piero della Francesca territory. You pass streets named after paintings like “Via Madonna del Prato.” “The Legend of the True Cross,” one of the painter’s masterpieces, graces the Basilica di San Francesco. If you walk to the park at the top of the hill on which Arezzo rests the view looks like a Piero della Francesca. Arezzo was once strong-armed by the Medicis, in particular Cosimo, which may account for an almost genetic feistiness in the character of the populace. It’s something that’s contravened by the legacy of Francis which is that of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Church of Santa Maria della Pieve, with its three-tiered columned facade includes a moving paen to the working man in its entranceway. Both impulses infuse the atmosphere. Structures like the Cattedrale dei San Pietro e Donato in which the remains of the early Christian martyr, Donatus, who was beheaded, are buried attest to a dream world in which the deeply Christian spirit of sacrifice still remains a very real part of everyday life. Yet Constantine’s dream with the famous words “in this sign thou shall conquer,” could be the credo of this city. 

N.B.: read Francis Levy's short story, "Pet Buddha"in Vol. 1 Brooklyn. 

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