The Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter (Cattedrale di Santi Donato e Pietro) is the main catholic church in Arezzo, dominating the city from the height of San Pietro Hill.
An important event, which contributed to the construction of the cathedral, was the visit of Pope Gregorio X, which took place on December 20, 1275, returning from the Council of Lyon. The Pope, seriously ill, died in Arezzo on January 10, leaving the sum of thirty gold florins for the building of the new Cathedral.
In 1277, the decree of the bishop Guglielmo degli Ubertini was promulgated, which stated the desire to build a church “to the honor of God, of the Blessed Virgin and of the patron Saint Donato”.
In 1289, the year of the Battle of Campaldino, the church, already consecrated, presented a fully built apse and the first two bays.
In 1384, the sale of the Municipality of Arezzo to the Signoria of Florence led to an interruption of the construction, which was resumed in 1471 and ended in 1511.
In the early 17th century, following the new rules of the Council of Trent, a modernization operation was carried out with the renewal of the chapels and the altars, on a project by Teofilo Torri, a local painter and architect.
The facade remained unfinished until the beginning of the 20th century, and was defined in its current form between 1900 and 1914, after a design by Dante Viviani, with sculptures by Giuseppe Cassioli.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The interior, with three naves, without transept, with five bays punctuated by pillars, is characterized by a polygonal apse.
A masterpiece of glassmaking is the cycle of seven stained glass windows by Guillame Marcillat, painted in two phases, between 1516 and 1517 and from 1522 to 1524. Marcillat is also responsible for the execution of the Biblical Stories painted in the vaults of the first three bays of the nave and the first span of the left aisle.
The altar dates back to 1289 and was probably consecrated by Bishop Guglielmino degli Ubertini. The marble altar piece, showing pages from the life of Saint Donato, is dated between 1364 and 1375, and can be attributed to different workers. Among the names, are those of Giovanni di Francesco d’Arezzo and Betto di Francesco.
The wooden choir was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1554.
Many artistic achievements were linked to the figure of the Bishop Guido Tarlati. Along the right wall, is the fresco of the Madonna with the Child and Saints by Bonamico di Martino, from Florence, called Buffalmacco. This is followed by the ancient Bertoldini chapel, with paintings by Andrea di Nerio, and the marble chapel of Ciuccio Tarlati, created by Giovanni d’Agostino in 1334.
The chapel of Madonna del Conforto, designed by Giuseppe Del Rosso and completed in 1817, which opens along the left aisle, contains two large paintings representing Judith and Abigaille, respectively executed by Pietro Benvenuti and Luigi Sabatelli.
The Cathedral rises above the staircase built between 1525 and 1529, after a design by Guillame Marcillat, and renewed between 1780 and 1810.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Cathedral is near the Palazzo del Comune, only a few meters away, in Piazza Duomo, at number 1. The nearest bus station is right in front of the church, in Via Ricasoli, which can be reached with the bus CS2.