I decided to take a day trip to Arezzo on my first day out. My primary acquaintance with this beautiful medieval town was having seen its most famous work of art, the Chimaera, while it was on display at the Getty Villa.
It was a stormy afternoon with rain spitting down at various intervals, but it didn’t diminish my appreciation of the ancient city at all. A beautiful, open park sits at the top of the hill, bordered by the church to one side, the castle on the other, and the old city wall surrounding all of it. I felt like I was in a Robin Hood movie. It was entrancing.
The day before, Arezzo had celebrated the Saracen Joust, in which mounted knights joust against a wooden effigy of a Saracen. As I walked around the main square, metal grandstands and the dirt track were being removed.
Every time it rained, I’d duck in for a glass of red wine or stop at a bar for a sweet and a caffe. I concluded my day with a visit to the archaeological museum and the ruins of a Roman arena. The museum had a number of artifacts dating back to the Etruscan settlements, and the woman at the front desk struck up a conversation, half in English, half in Italian. We chatted for about 10 minutes, and I was feeling more and more confident in my ability to communicate with very few words. Afterwards, she let me out into the courtyard to explore the Roman ruins on my own. On a rainy day with no one around, it was magical to be up close with such an old structure.