TOSCANA - Arezzo
FILE : The Cathedral 0

A new magnificent cathedral, promoted by the bishop Guglielmo degli Umbertini towards 1278, took the place of the old one that was situated in a peripheral area.

According to Vasari’s tradition, the project of the building is by a certain Lapo or Jacopo Tedesco. But that tradition has no foundation, as the other attribution given to the painter Margarito or Margaritone, has not been accepted by the critics and particularly by Salmi . In his opinion, when Margaritone arrived in Arezzo, following Pope Gregorius X and the bishop Guglielmino –they had just returned from the Council of Lyons (1274) -, he accepted the direction of the works, undertaking to go through with the decorations.

In the cathedral structure Salmi makes out lines of a harmonious and coherent project; an example of ogival gothic that reveals several analogies with Cistercian churches, like St. Galgano abbey or the Assisi Basilica and S. Maria Novella in Florence.

The works went on slowly. In the first years the outside walls were traced out and the presbytery was finished. The first two arches can be dated to that period, as it appears from the archaic style of the capitals, a style that leads back to Umbrian architecture. From 1312 to 1317, during bishop Guido Tarlati’s government, the city improved and the third bay, previously trussed, was built up. When Tarlati died, a period of decadence started in the city that was sold to Florence. The political events in Arezzo caused a long holdup in the works that were resumed only in the years 1471-77 , when the last two bays were built.

The temporary façade of the cathedral was originally made of bricks at sight. It was replaced by a modern one projected by D. Viviani in 1914 but ended up in 1930. Both the choir and the two apsidal chapels lights have high and narrow mullioned windows. Among those, the one in the middle collapsed and was walled up in 1533. It was reopened only in 1865 with a window by Bertini, later destroyed for the blasts during the second world war . Along the south nave (the only one with windows), there are five smaller mullioned windows. Whilst the big roundel window dominates the counterfaçade.