The Santa Maria delle Grazie Church in Arezzo is located south of the city center. The church has a beautiful portico and an impressive main altar created by Andrea della Robbia.
Santa Maria delle Grazie Church Arezzo
Address, opening times and admission
The address of the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie is Via Santa Maria delle Grazie, 1, 52100 Arezzo (tel. +39 0575323140). Bus: LF5, LF8. Opening hours: From 07:00 to 20:00. No tourists are allowed in during mass.
The church was built on a site where there used to be a sacred spring. In 1428 San Bernardino da Siena had all traces of pagan idols destroyed. He also had a chapel built on the site.
In 1449, construction began on the present church, dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie.
When the original frescoes in the church were restored in the early 20th century, it was discovered that they had been whitewashed no less than five times over the centuries.
To the right of the church is an oratory dedicated to San Bernardino. In 1995, a number of artworks were stolen from this oratory. These were never found.
What to see
The portico was built later than the church itself, in 1478.
The altar piece “Madonna delle Grazie” (1430) was painted by Parri de Spinello.
The altar itself is the work of Andrea della Robbia (1487) and is made of marble and terracotta. He used 150 different decorations in the process.
The fresco depicting “Pope Sixtus IV between the Cardinal of Mantua and Cardinal Piccolomini” (later Pope Pius II) is by Lorentino D’Andrea.
At the entrance is a 16th century baptismal font.
In the square in front of the church there is a plaque referring to the presence of Garibaldi’s troops who stayed here on July 22. The troops had to stay there since the Municipality of Arezzo did not want them to enter the city.
There used to be porticos around the entire square. Now one can see them only on two sides. The designer was Giuliano da Maiano.
Underneath some of the porticoes there were frescoes by Piero della Francesca and his pupil Lorentino D’Andrea. The theme of these was “events from the life of San Donato”. Fragments of these paintings can now be seen in the church itself.
The Loggia in front of the entrance was designed by Benedetto da Maiano, the brother of Giuliano. Its construction lasted from 1470 to 1484.
The Baroque wooden altar in the Oratory of San Bernardino was originally in the Pieve di Santa Maria and was made in 1628 by Girolamo Anselmo Fiorentino.