Art lovers who visit Arezzo in Italy are probably there for the Piero della Francesca frecoes, but there are plenty of other art treasures to view in this wonderful Tuscan hilltop town. One of the most amazing is the Casa Vasari, or the House of Vasari. This is the house which the famous Renaissance painter and writer Georgio Vasari lived in whilst he was in Arezzo. He decorated it himself and the frescoes and ceiling decorations can still be seen.
NB: You have to ring a bell to enter the Casa Vasari. When you arrive at Via XX Settembre, Arezzo, the museum will appear to be shut and the door shut. But ring the bell and you will be allowed in to view the amazing decorations with which Vasari surrounded himself. Even the staircase that you climb to the entrance on the piano nobile was designed by Vasari.
The first room is the Sala Camino, which is the biggest and most exuberantly decorated. Painting covers the well-proportioned walls and ceilings. A large fireplace fills one end of the room, painted with the reminder that ‘Homo vapour est’ and supporting a statue of Venus. The wooden ceiling is divided into 17 different sections showing morally upright allegories. In the centre Virtue tramples on Envy. The seasons representing the four ages of Man fill the edges whilst the planets hover overhead. It is a fantastic ceiling that gives a glimpse into the mindset of the Renaissance thinkers.
Access is allowed into the garden where Vasari would have walked.
Other rooms in the house are hung with a selection of works by contemporaries, as well as a few paintings by the great man himself. Most importantly there is a wooden model for the loggia in Arezzo that Vasari designed and built. The model can be compared with the final architectural masterpiece that is only a few hundred metres away on the Piazza Grande.