Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici is a palace in Piazza Grande, in Arezzo, known as the headquarters of the Fraternita dei Laici, an institution founded in 1262, still active today and very involved in projects of social and cultural interest.
The Palace, begun in 1375, was completed only in the second half of the 16th century. Between 1550 and 1560, the façade was finished with the construction of the balcony and the lunar phases of the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic Clock, built in 1552 by Felice di Salvatore da Fossato.
The part of the Palace towards the apse of the Church of Santa Maria della Pieve was completed in the second half of the 17th century, following a project by Giorgio Vasari.
The renovation of the Palazzo della Fraternita in 1781, supported by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena, led to the opening of the Library of Fraternity to the public.
Today, the palace hosts the Fraternita dei Laici Museum, reopened in 2010.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The original painting of Christ from the external lunette of the central portal, replaced by a copy at the end of the 1970s, is now in the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art and was painted by Spinello Aretino.
The group of sculptures with the Madonna della Misericordia, the Saints Lorentino and Pergentino, patrons of the Fraternity, and with, on either side, the Saint Donato and the Beato Gregorio, protectors of the city of Arezzo – was made by the sculptor and architect Bernardo Rossellino.
Inside, the palace still preserves jewels of art such as the fresco Maestà di Parri by Spinello Aretino, a work carried out in 1448. In the central hall of the ground floor, stands the great fresco of the Madonna della Misericordia executed by the artist Teofilo Torri in October 1612.
The mural painting of the Pallas Athena by Angelo Ricci echoes the Etruscan bronze found in Arezzo in the 16th century, entered the Medici collections together with the famous Chimera. The painting represents the wisdom, but it is also the link with the ancient culture and art.
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest bus station is Viale Buozzi Opp 5 – Prato, about 250 meters from Piazza Grande and the palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici. You can get there with the bus CS2, but it would be more interesting to discover the historical center of the city on foot. If you choose this option, use the map below.