Another artistic pearl of the historic center of Arezzo is found turning the corner of the road of our Bed and Breakfast taking the historic Via Sasso Verde; at the end of it an enchanting spectacle opens up on a sweet tree-lined square that with its fourteenth-century church of the same name creates a glimpse of the truly irreplaceable historical center, San Domenico.
Arrived in Arezzo in the first years of the XIII century the Dominican fathers gave life to their convent and to this church of Gothic structure from 1275 to 1300 to a Florentine friar, as can easily be deduced from the analogies between San Domenico with some features of the famous Church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence.
The interior of the church with a single nave is full of light thanks to the twelve elongated windows that approaching each other towards the apse create a strong sense of depth made even more suggestive by the presence of the frescoes located at the bottom of the walls.
The Church of San Domenico has always been a treasure trove of masterpieces over the centuries but has lost many works of art mentioned in the writings of Giorgio Vasari, as an organ by Bartolomeo della Gatta, a stained glass window by Marcillat, paintings by Margaritone and so on; however, inside it are still visible traces of history and works of inestimable value that enrich this church with simple lines.
Among these we remember:
- Above the main altar, the 13th century wooden Crucifix by Cimabue is even more precious after the damages suffered by the twin work of Cimabue present in Florence following the flood of 1966;
- The “Saints Philip and James Minor and stories of their life and St. Catherine” by Spinello Aretino;
- The “Crucifixion among the Saints” by Parri di Spinello;
- The Dragondelli Chapel (Florentine family in front of the square had a ceramic industry) with the coat of arms depicting a winged red dragon in a golden field, of particular interest as the only one of many present initially in the church. It was sculpted by Giovanni di Francesco from Florence around 1368;
- The sepulcher of Niccolò Soggi (Florence 1479_ Arezzo 1551) Renaissance painter very well liked by Giorgio Vasari who mentions it in his “Lives”
- A fresco by Giorgio Vasari’s great-grandfather, Lazzaro Vasari, representative of the Dominican Vincenzo Ferreri and realized in the epoch when Piero della Francesca, not far away, worked in the Basilica of San Francesco for the Legend of the True Cross.
The exterior of the Church consists almost entirely of small stones with the exception of the central part where the alternation of travertine and sandstone creates a different chromatic effect; the bell tower contains another “memory” of the fourteenth century: the two bells. One of the two, the largest, dated 1349, bears the signature of two well-known Aretine founders, Nerio and Ristoro.
The portal is surmounted by a lunette with fresco of the Madonna and Child between San Francesco and San Domenico dating back to 1480 by Lorentino di Andrea.